Dinner

By Madeleine Ignon | June 6, 2011

Photo: Madeleine Ignon

I’m going to be completely honest: I made this recipe because I had an eggplant that was about to go bad. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Or, maybe a more fitting phrase (considering I hardly invented baba ghanoush) would be: An almost past-its-prime vegetable provides the opportunity for an experiment.

This particular eggplant was afflicted with more than a few dents, but it maintained its firm, shiny surface and gorgeous deep purple color. After charring it over an open burner, much like my mother taught me to do with tomatoes do get the skin off in one fell swoop, the eggplant fell apart beautifully in the oven. It took on a lovely, creamy texture when pureed with all the ingredients, even though I omitted the tahini that one recipe called for. The smokiness of the eggplant was a great combination with the fresh cilantro and citrus of the lemon. Reduce the cayenne if you’re not a spice-lover.

When a grain, greens, and yogurt are added, this dip functions as a complete light meal.

Adapted from recipes from www.davidlebovitz.com and The New York Times

  • 1 eggplant
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • A handful of spinach, or another leafy green
  • Pita or lavash bread, toasted

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Puncture the eggplant with a knife or fork a few times. Char the outside of the eggplant by placing it directly on the flame of a gas burner. Rotate the eggplant until it is charred all over. If you don't have a gas burner, roast it in the oven for longer.

3. Place the eggplant on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until it is completely soft. You should be able to easily poke a fork or knife into it.

4. Remove from the oven and let cool.

5. Split the eggplant open and scrape out the pulp. Puree the pulp, some of the skin, the cayenne, lemon juice, cumin, cilantro, and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.

6. Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yogurt, spinach, the toasted pita.

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