This Turkish eggplant dip is based on a recipe from Paula Wolfert’s book, “The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen”. It is delicious and easy, perfect for entertaining.
Paula’s recipe called for green bell pepper. I changed it to red because I think the sweet notes are a good accent to the smokiness of the slowly roasted eggplant.
- 2.75 pound pounds eggplants
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
Pierce the eggplants with a sharp fork in two or three places (to keep them from exploding) and place them as high as you can on a V‑rack roaster. Set over a medium-low gas flame or over hot coals and grill, turning about three times, 15 minutes to a side, or until completely soft and the skin is black and blistery, about 45 minutes total. The longer and slower the grilling, the creamier the eggplant will be. When the eggplants collapse, remove from the grill and let cool slightly. Remove the black parched skin, then squeeze gently to remove any juices. Discard the juices, and crush the pulp to a purÃ©e with a fork.
Meanwhile, grill the pepper. Remove the pepper when soft, cover with a sheet of plastic and allow to cool. Core, seed and slip off the skin. Chop fine and mix with the eggplant.
Mash the garlic to a paste with half the walnuts and the salt in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Add the cheese, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and pulse to combine.
In a serving bowl, combine the garlic-walnut mixture with the eggplant-pepper pulp and mix well. Correct the seasoning. Mix the parsley and remaining walnuts and sprinkle on top. Serve with pita toasted until crisp, or toasted rustic bread slices. May be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.
Note: When large eggplants are roasted whole, you may notice black juices seeping out of the skin. If this happens, immediately slit the eggplant on one side and drain on a slanted board in the sink