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Charred eggplant dip with cucumbers and flatbreads at lynnecurry.com.

Charred Eggplant Yogurt Dip for Busy People

I’m saying “so long” to the grilling season with this recipe for a smoky tasting eggplant dip that nearly makes itself.

What I love about this recipe–other than eggplant, which I adore even though many do not and now is the moment when we have a few local ones–is that it is so undemanding of attention.

And even when it’s not grilling season, you can substitute the oven for nearly the same effect.

Here’s how it works, while you busy yourself with just about anything else*…from folding the laundry or tending the baby to cleaning the garage… do this:

  1. Turn on the grill or oven.
  2. Place eggplant on grill or in oven.
  3. Step aside.

Charred eggplant dip with flatbreads and cucumbers at lynnecurry.com.

The whole point is to stay out of the way while the skin of the eggplant blackens {and I mean a scary “have I burned it?” overall char} and the insides practically melt. You can tell it’s done when this strange and bitter fruit slumps like an old pillow.

Give it a squeeze, and if there’s no resistance it is ready.

A Simpler Eggplant Dip

Now, you may know eggplant dip as baba ganoush: the Middle Eastern dip made with tahini and is as ubiquitous in the Levant as our own beloved hummus.

This version is simpler, relying on the charred eggplant for the flavors.

Blended with yogurt, fresh herbs and lemon juice, you embellish it the way you’d like–enhance its smokiness with pimentón {smoked paprika}, warm it with the spice blend of za’atar or heat it up with red pepper flakes.

This is a dip that celebrates the season and respects how dang busy we all are transitioning from summer to fall.

*And just maybe, if you’re feeling less pressed that you can invite a few good friends over for a bite to eat, serve this with a glass of wine while the kids play in the fading afternoon light. Eat well!

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Charred eggplant dip with cucumbers and flatbreads at lynnecurry.com.
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Charred Eggplant Yogurt Spread

This is a simple grilling party trick. Just plop a whole eggplant on the grill (even while it’s preheating) until the skin blackens, then peel and use the softened center as a spread for flatbreads, sliced vegetables or crackers. You can also make this in the oven during the off season as part of a meze supper or holiday appetizer.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt pastured
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley or cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • red pepper flakes, black cumin seeds, pimenton, or za'tar for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make several incisions in the eggplant with a paring knife. Slice the garlic into thick pieces and insert each sliver all the way into the eggplant. Rub it with the oil.

  2. If grilling, place the eggplant on the grill and let it cook, rotating it about every 10 minutes, until the skin is charred and the center is very soft, about 30 minutes total. Set it aside until cool enough to handle.

  3. If roasting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the eggplant on a small baking sheet and roast, turning once or twice, until the skin is blackened and the center is very soft, about 40 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

  4. Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce by combining the yogurt, parsley, mint, lemon juice and salt. Taste for seasoning. 

  5. Peel the skin from the eggplant, scraping all the meat thoroughly, and mash it in a bowl with a fork or a potato masher. (I like some texture, but if you'd like it very smooth, use a food processor.) 

  6. Add the yogurt, parsley, mint, lemon juice and salt. Taste for seasoning. To serve, smooth it into a wide bowl, drizzle on additional olive oil and a sprinkling of the garnish of your choice, from spicy (red pepper flakes) to mild (sesame seeds). Serve warm at room temperature with flatbreads and sliced vegetables or crackers.

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