|Glamorosi Recipes: Roasted Eggplant Dip with Yogurt, Mint and Walnuts|
Although eggplant (aka aubergine) is available in markets year-round, in my area (the Mid-Atlantic US), July and August are the magic months in which many gardeners see this fruit from the nightshade family come into season. Purple eggplant is the most common, but it is also available in white, yellow, green, and mottled; I've used the different varieties in main dishes, appetizers, salads, breads and more. One of my favorite ways to prepare eggplant is in a dip with yogurt, mint and walnuts. I was inspired to make this eggplant dip after eating a Persian meal back in the 90s; this is my personal recipe refined through trial and error over the years.
This versatile roasted eggplant dip is wonderful served with pita bread and vegetables, as part of a side dish with rice, quinoa or roasted potatoes, or as a spread on sandwiches. The yogurt makes the dip creamy: you can use regular or low-fat yogurt; using Greek yogurt will make the dip more tangy. This recipe is easy to make, and can be served warm or chilled. Preparation: about one hour; serves 4-6.
2 globe eggplants or 4 Japanese eggplants – about 2 pounds
1/3 cup plain yogurt, regular or low-fat
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, separated into 1/2 and 1/4 cup portions
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (or 1/4 cup dry mint leaves)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, fresh squeezed
Kosher salt, black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then make a series of slices in the flesh without cutting all the way through to the skin. Scoring it in a diamond pattern works well.
2. Brush the eggplant with olive oil, then place flesh-side down on baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes - you'll notice the skin will start to pucker when it's ready. When done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
3. While the eggplant is roasting, fry the onions in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until they start to look transparent. Add turmeric and stir until it is evenly distributed and the onions are uniformly yellow. Leave the onions in the skillet, but turn off the heat until the eggplant is ready.
4. Use a large spoon to scoop the eggplant out of its skin and add to the onions. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to smoosh any large chunks of eggplant.
5. Add garlic to the skillet with the eggplant and onions. Cook mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then turn down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
6. Turn off heat, add yogurt, mint, lemon juice and ½ cup chopped walnuts. Season with kosher salt and a few turns of your pepper mill (sea salt or common table salt and pepper is fine too).
7. Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of walnuts over top. Serve warm, or chill if you prefer.
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Posted on Friday, August 8, 2014