I’ve eaten the same food for lunch and dinner almost every day this past week. I feel like that statement makes me sound so boring but I’m not, really! (I also feel like that statement sounds shocking coming from me considering I generally loath eating leftovers for more then one day. On occasion, I have the ability to shock myself.) It’s just that I happened to stumble upon a recipe for eggplant dip that sounded so simple and lovely. I was envisioning it being eaten as an appetizer for a Middle Eastern dinner party. We would slather it on triangles of warm pita and eat it with olives and chunks of feta. I never ended up throwing a Middle Eastern themed party but I still wanted, no needed to make this dip as the recipe wouldn’t leave my mind until I bought an eggplant.
What happened after making the eggplant dip is that I realized I didn’t need to throw a party in order to enjoy it, because I enjoyed it, all by myself, for almost a week (let’s just say I made a lot of dip). This dip is perfect in so many ways. Its creamy but not in the I am so bad for you and your arteries are now crying because you ate some way. It’s creamy because it’s blended eggplant and a teeny tiny bit of Greek yogurt – so really you’re eating just a vegetable which is the healthiest thing one can eat. (These are things I tell myself while eating to validate the fact that I have eaten three pitas and could eat two more.) It also uses smoked sea salt, which is so wonderful that it validates the fact that it cost $16 for a container. (I consider this a steal since I saw it at two other stores for $26 -another mechanism I use to validate the fact I bought it.) Smoked salt add a flavor to the dish that is hard to describe, it makes your food taste as if its been cooked over an open fire - its rather extraordinary and I plan on incorporating it into as many dishes I can. I plan to make another batch of this tomorrow and I imagine if you did as well, you would be very happy.
Smoky Eggplant Puree with Pine Nuts
Recipe adapted from Lottie and Doof
2 eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablepsoon salt
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0% and it worked perfectly)
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from ½ lemon)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for garnishing)
½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 teaspoons Urfa chilies (also known as Isot) or Aleppo or smoked Spanish paprika can be used
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water (big enough for all of the eggplant) to a boil. Add the eggplant and the tablespoon of salt to the boiling water. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook at a brisk simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft and translucent. You can use a pair of tongs to test the eggplant. Drain into a colander.
In a food processor puree the eggplant with the yogurt, smoked salt, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Place the eggplant mixture into a bowl and stir in the pine nuts and chilies. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with some extra pine nuts and chilies for garnish and a drizzle of olive oil.