Friday, January 29, 2016

Roasted Eggplant Dip

This is a first!
I've never fixed eggplant.
I've learned enough about it that I could talk about it . . .
like it can be bitter,
and that it is better if you draw out the moisture from the veggie before you cook it.
To my knowledge, I've only eaten it one time, and that was last Fall.
But while grocery shopping the other day, my boy cherub said he wanted to try eggplant.
So we bought one.
Just one.
Since I didn't really know what to do with it, or how many eggplants would be needed, we started small.
You know -- better safe than sorry!
After contemplating the eggplant, I decided to start "safe."
I thought an eggplant dip would be our jumping off point.
So the other day, I gathered the little eggplant and other ingredients and started cooking.
Now!  Don't you know, that later that afternoon, while folding laundry and watching Ina Garten,
she made a roasted eggplant dip.
And after watching that, I had wished I had waited so that I could have made that recipe.
But, I guess that will be next time!
When searching recipes, like anything, there are similar components, then there are the random additions; such as plain greek yogurt, tomato paste, olives, vinegar.
That's what makes cooking fun!  Take the basic and go from there!
For our first eggplant attempt, I went with a basic dip that used the things we liked from different recipes.
Final result:  We all actually like the dip!
So thank you to my boy cherub! 
We'll continue experimenting with eggplant!
Roasted Eggplant Dip
1 eggplant
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 TBSP tahini paste
1 onion, chopped and caramelized
salt and pepper
Wash the eggplant.
Thickly slice the eggplant and place in a strainer in the sink.  Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt.  Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with foil.  Blot the eggplant dry and place on the pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
With the pan on a lower rack in the oven, broil on high until the eggplant slices are browned and roasted.
While the eggplant is cooking, in a pan, add oil and chopped onions, cooking until the onions are caramelized in color and cooked thoroughly.  Remove from the heat.
Remove the eggplant from the oven and allow to cool.  Remove and discard the skin.
Place the roasted eggplant in a food processor or good blender.  Add the garlic cloves, juice of one lemon, 1 TBSP tahini paste (or more if you desire it or if the eggplant was larger in size).  Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides.  Add 1 TBSP of oil, if needed to help process the dip.  Add in about 1/2 of the caramelized onions to the processor and continue pulsing until well incorporated. 
Scoop the dip into a bowl and create a "well" in the middle of the dip.  Fill this with the remaining caramelized onions.  If desired, drizzle the completed dip with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of course grind salt.
Serve with crackers or veggies.

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