I just love summer vegetables. They seem juicier and more vibrant. They take less time to cook than winter squashes and I never tire of inventing new recipes for them.
This eggplant dip is perhaps related to babaganoush, but it’s a little spicier and a lot lighter. That’s because instead of creamy tahini, I use roasted sesame oil. That gives it a roasted, perhaps even more intense nuttiness with none of the thick, uber-rich texture of babaganoush.
Oh yeah..and this uses an entire head of roasted garlic.
Sesame Eggplant Dip
1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
1 head garlic, roasted (or you can roast it with the eggplant)
2 tbsp. chile olive oil, plus more for drizzling (or use a drop of hot sauce in your oil)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
drizzle of sesame oil
salt to taste
1. Cut a cross-hatch pattern in the eggplant. There is no need to cut all the way through the skin, but if you do, it’s no biggie. Preheat the oven to 350F. 2. Drizzle the oil on the cut eggplant and really rub it into the flesh. 3. Place the eggplant skin side up on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for 30 minutes or so. In the upper part of the photo, you can see my foil wrapped garlic, ready to roast right on the same sheet tray. If you want to do this, just lop the top off of the garlic head so a few cloves are exposed, drizzle with olive oil, then wrap the whole thing entirely in foil. This will take closer to an hour to bake, but when it is totally soft and sticky, that is done, too! 4. When the skin has become wrinkled and collapsed and the flesh is totally soft, the eggplant is done. Let it cool until you can comfortably seperate the squishy flesh from teh skin. The skin itself is an awesome snack – oily and savory and crispy – but you don’t want it in the dip.
5. Mash together the eggplant, some of the lemon juice, a bit of oil, ENTIRE head of garlic (just squeeze those juicy morsels out of the skin…try not to eat them all plain like I tend to do…), a bit of sesame oil, and some salt. Then stir, mash, blend and TASTE. The sesame oil is potent, so don’t start with more than a teaspoon. I like mine rather spicy and acidic, so I really go heavy on the lemon juice.
This is da bomb.com.
It’s my blog, I can bring that phrase back if I want to. And I do.
This is creamy but not gloopy. It’s spicy but not overly hot, and it’s lush without being a gigantic oil slick. The flavors of the eggplant are really pronounced – grassy and earthy, juxtaposed with the high, tingly note of the chile oil. The sesame oil adds a super nutty taste that makes it almost a main course. This would be great in a sandwich with feta cheese or even over pasta or rice. It is such a wonderful way to let summer eggplants shine.
And it really makes me wish that summer would last forever.