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Smoky Eggplant Dip

August 27, 2012

I made a delicious eggplant dip/spread yesterday that was so easy I thought I would share.  I adapted this recipe from the Kitchn to use up a bunch of eggplant I collected from the CSA.

I pretty much followed the recipe provided, except that my eggplants were not as big, so I reduced the roasting time to closer to 45 minutes and added some smoked paprika and a few red pepper flakes for a little kick.  Soooo good – I think this could also work well as a pasta sauce if it were thinned out with either fresh or canned tomatoes or could be spread on bread with maybe some feta cheese and arugula for a delicious lunch.

Smoky Eggplant Dip (adapted from the Kitchn)
Makes about 3 cups

Approximately 2 lbs eggplant
Olive oil,  for cooking
2 medium onions, chopped
3/4 cup (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prick the eggplants all over with a fork and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven, turning over once, until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size of eggplant).

Let the eggplants cool in a colander in the sink, where their juices can drain. When cool enough to handle, press any excess liquid out. (This step helps to reduce any bitterness.)

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 15-20 minutes.

Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the peel. Chop the flesh very finely. (The Kitchn recommended to avoid using a food processor, as you want the eggplant to be more textured than a purée.)

Add the eggplant to the onions along with the tomato paste, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a couple good cracks of black pepper. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. (Be liberal with the oil; any excess will rise to the top as the mixture cools, and you can remove it then, if you wish.)

Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl and let it cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.  I served mine with pita chips, but I plan to try it on a sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

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