Eggplant! My eggplant always seems to hit its peak in the fall. All the seed packages say it is a warm weather plant, but I think it really needs all summer to get going. My most successful eggplant variety this year was called Bride, from Territorial Seed Company. It is a beautiful plant that produces long and slender fruit. The eggplant color can vary from a deep purple to almost white. The flesh is mild and white, making it perfect for roasting and using in a dip.
The Bride eggplant grows to about 8 inches. It remains thin, so you need quite a few to roast for a dip. No problem, since each of our plants usually has about 10 eggplants growing in every round. Once picked the plant gets right to work making more fruit.
We grilled our eggplant, roasted it, used it in curries but our favorite preparation is roasted and used in this dip. We make a double batch so we can use the leftovers in a pasta dish the next day. I love a good time saver - right? So, check back in a day or so and I will have the Roasted Eggplant Pasta Recipe up. In the meantime, turn on your oven, roast some eggplant, toast some pita and get eating.
Roasted Eggplant Dip
Inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe.
8-10 Asian type eggplant or 1 large Italian type (you should get about 2 cups of roasted pulp)
2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for roasting
2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste)
2 peeled cloves of garlic
Juice from a fresh lemon
Remove and discard the tops of the eggplant. Rub the eggplant bodies with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 30 minutes. If you are using the larger globe type of eggplant, you will need to increase the cook time. The goal is to have a deflated and very soft eggplant. The skin will also fade to a purple brown tone.
Let the eggplant cool to touch and then remove the pulp from the skin. The pulp should go in the bowl of a food processor and the skin goes in the trash or better yet - the compost bin.
Add the olive oil, tahini, garlic cloves and lemon juice to the food processor bowl. Process until smooth. Taste for salt and add to your taste.
Scoop into a serving bowl. Top with za’atar, sesame seeds and edible flowers.
Enjoy with pita.
Za’atar can be found in any Middle Eastern supermarket and Cost Plus World Market.
Tahini can be found in most any grocery store these days. Trader Joe’s has it too!