Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eggplant Bean Dip

I reckon the whole country has heard about all the rain California has received lately.  On the big day, I came home to a furnace billowing smoke and a flooded basement.  Fire and water in one disaster?—how did I get to be so lucky?  But my concern was not so much about the mess…I was more focused on dinner.  (I should say here that my house is only a rental.)  My goal for the night was to try to convince the electric company to not turn off my gas so I could still cook dinner.  Most people would be trying to salvage the items in their basement, but not me.  In preparation for the storm, my coworkers and I tried to pick the last of the summer produce from the company farm.  I had 3 enormous eggplants in my bag and I had to use them! 

I’m not really an eggplant fan; I usually make eggplant parmesan once a year and then wait around for next summer’s crop to make it again.  Having an annual eggplant consumption of 1 medium fruit suits me fine.  But then I saw an eggplant dip in Fine Cooking last summer and decided to make it.  Ever since, I’ve been a bigger fan.  This tastes more like a lemon-y herb hummus than a veggie dip.  This is my simplified version of the Fine Cooking recipe.  I think this could be made into a pasta sauce by roasting red onion with the eggplant and adding lemon zest to the puree.  

Eggplant Dip
3 medium to large eggplants (I love Rosa Biancas or use 3 pounds baby eggplants)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
3 tsp. anchovy paste
1 14oz. can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
Juice of 1 lemon
6 sprigs of fresh marjoram (or more)
¼ cup fresh mint

Preheat broiler.  Slice the eggplants in half and score them with a knife (do not cut through the skin).  Toss them in a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkle flesh with salt and pepper.  Place flesh side down on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Broil the eggplants 20-30 minutes, or until the skin is charred and wrinkled.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large food processor, blend 1 tsp. salt, garlic, anchovy paste, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Once eggplant is cool enough to handle, scrape out the pulp and add it to the food processor along with the herbs.  Discard the skin.  Puree the mixture.  Taste and add salt, citrus juice or more herbs to your liking. 

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