Eggplants, or aubergines have finally arrived on the scene at the farmers' market here in Ottawa. Rejoice!
I absolutely adore eggplant, everything about it; the texture, the taste, the versatility, the colour(s)! Did you know that they are actually not a vegetable?! Yeah, they're one of those tricky plants, like a tomato, that are actually a fruit! Technically a berry by botanical definition. The internet tells me that they're also nutritionally low in both macro and micro nutrients, but I'm not going to let that deter me from enjoying them.
Though we're not even half way through summer yet, we are starting to get a few of those cool summer evenings that are perfect for firing up the oven. Take advantage of a break in the weather to roast the eggplant for this recipe and then make straight away or keep in the fridge until you're ready to prepare the dip.
Smoky Eggplant Tahini Dip
1 large globe eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, left in their skins
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp tahini
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sumac (optional)
pinch of za'atar (optional)
2 Tbsp minced parsley
extra virgin olive oil for serving
Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the eggplant cut side down along with the garlic on a baking sheet with the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and roast in in the oven until the eggplant is charred and very tender. About 35-40 minutes.
When cool enough to handle scrape the flesh of the eggplant (even the charred bits and some of the skin is okay too!) into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Slip the garlic out of its skin and add the lemon juice, tahini, cumin, sumac (if using) and za'atar (if using). Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
Scoop the dip into a bowl and top with minced parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and more za'atar if using.
Serve with toasted slices of baguette, pita, crackers, or veggies. Slather on sandwiches or maybe use as a base for pizza!?