phynedyning

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Pita Dip

In Recipies on May 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm

This is another of those recipes for which everyone claims authenticityI cannot even claim this as “mine”, as it comes from my friend, Adi (not that “Adi”), whom I met in Cholon, Israel in 2001.  I am writing this as my vegetables are grilling.  I will post a picture of the finished dip later.

WARNING:  If you have never roasted an eggplant, READ THIS FIRST!  Be sure to poke LOTS of holes in the eggplant if you are roasting it whole in the oven or on the barbeque.  If you fail to do this, the eggplant will explode like a grenade and coat the inside of your oven with a goo that will make you recall one of the scenes in the old “Ghostbusters” movie.  Yes, I have done that.  On the other hand, if you are just another pretentious little foodie…do not poke the holes.  Cleaning the oven will give you something to do with your life, other than merely annoying the rest of us.

With that government warning out of the way…

There are many ways to make this.  You can roast the whole eggplant and peppers in the oven or on the grill.  Or, you can cut the eggplant into large chunks and halve and seed the peppers and slow-roast them on the grill in a metal basket.  In the summer, I use the b’grille method.  It keeps from heating up the house and it adds a characteristic smokiness to the dip.  Yes, you can use a bit of liquid smoke if you need to do so.  Again, Phyne Dyners do not get upset with “making it work”.  We do not need special wood for the grill that has been aged in hamster cheeks.

1 eggplant

2 red peppers

4 large garlic cloves

1/4 C olive oil

2 TBS lemon juice

1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or one minced jalapeno pepper that has been seeded)

pinch of cumin (optional)

salt and pepper

Pita loaves (You DID bake pita and froze it during the winter?)

Pre-heat oven or grill (400F or medium-hot grill).  If you are using an oven, place the eggplant (remember to poke holes), red peppers, and garlic in a metal pan.  Coat them thoroughly with olive oil.  Roast for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.  The vegetables are done when they are soft and the skin is slightly charred.  To get a better char, place them under the broiler for a few minutes…but watch them carefully if you do this.

You can also roast whole vegetables on the grill.  I roughly chunk them (remove seeds and ribs from peppers) up because they get more of a roasted flavor.  Use a grill basket unless you want to donate your garlic to the fire.  Just coat the vegetable chunks with olive oil first.  Turn the vegetables fairly frequently, allowing them to char a bit during cooking.  Remove from grill and place in a metal pan.

Now carefully cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow the vegetables to cool for 15-20 minutes.  Remove the foil and remove the skins from the peppers and the eggplant.  Be careful not to discard your roasted garlic.  Place the vegetables and garlic in a food processor.  You may need to do this in batches.  No food processor?  Strain the vegetables through a colander!  Just use a large spoon to push them through the holes.  Remember, variations of this recipe has been around since antiquity…there were no food processors in antiquity.

There were no Chinese restaurants either.  Today, many Jewish yuppies would face potential starvation.

Okay…

Now, add the remaining ingredients.  Add the lemon juice slowly and taste after adding a bit of salt and pepper.  Serve with warmed pita loaves.

It is doubtful that you will have any left over.  But, if you do, the dip freezes well.  I make several quarts each summer and freeze them for winter use.

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