Smoky Eggplant Dip

One of the things I love about Paris is I’m always discovering something new, and often in the most unlikely of places. Like this dip, a spontaneous grab and go purchase at the end of the day — at Monoprix! — along with some fresh pita that, with a bowl soup, was going to be my dinner.

I already knew the quality of the foods made by the Greek traiteur Mavrommatis (which has a fair amount of real estate in my neighborhood Monoprix) because I’d discovered and gobbled up their hummus twice the week before. So when I saw “eggplant caviar,” I figured it would be wonderful, too.

Smoky, mysterious, and creamy at first bite, this is a whole other eggplant experience, people.

I knew the key was to cook the eggplant over an open flame, something I’d tried unsuccessfully once before and written off as a waste of time. Now I approached the task with renewed vigor — there was a dip to be made, and I needed to do it while the flavors were still fresh in my memory. 

So I turned my burner as high as it would go and placed a fat eggplant on top of the circle of flickering blue flames.  I turned the eggplant with my tongs every few minutes or so to make sure it was evenly charred. Then I put it on a plate and let it deflate like a burned, blackened balloon. I just left it there, and went off do do some other things, and didn’t peel the skin off until it was stone cold. I put the flesh in a bowl and stuck it in the fridge until the next day.

Burning an eggplant is easy. There’s really nothing to it.

The magic happened quite instantly. A minute or two in my baby Cuisinart, and the bulky eggplant flesh (which I’d lazily cut into two large pieces) turned into a silky purée; then with a few other things added, a creamy, smoky dip.

And I turned into all kinds of happy.

Smoky Eggplant Dip

Makes about 2 ½ cups

  •             1 large eggplant
  •             2 cups of Greek yogurt
  •             the juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  •             2 tablespoons of olive oil
  •             1 clove of garlic
  •              sea salt and pepper

1. Turn your gas burner on high and place the eggplant directly onto the flame. Let it cook, turning it as it blackens to make sure it’s evenly charred. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove the eggplant and let cool completely on a plate or in a bowl.

2. Peel the skin off of the eggplant and put the flesh along with the next 4 ingredients in your food processor. Pulse until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving.