I am a fan of chunky, light, vegetable based dips. This is a great dip that can be made ahead and stored in a cooler and can be taken to picnics.This dip is loosely based on the Morrocon dish called Zaalouk aux tomatoes. Zaalouk is made of with grated juicy tomatoes and fried eggplants (sometimes zucchini). I roasted large chunks of eggplants instead of frying and then mashed them. The smoked paprika went wonderfully with the silken mashed eggplant. A squirt of fresh lemon juice in the end brightens the dip.
I toasted some slices of leftover baguette brushed lightly with some fruity olive oil. The crispy bread went well with the smoky and silky eggplant. This with some briny olives, a hunk of cheese and a full bodied bottle of red would make a fabulous picnic ... With Brad of course - he will complete the picnic ;) I will need him to tote all the supplies.. which he does gladly!
Roasted Eggplant Dip
I do not find eggplant bitter and therefore did not salt it before roasting. Go ahead and salt it if you prefer to prepare your eggplants that way.
1 medium eggplant
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 medium sized tomatoes , chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tb chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel eggplant and cut into chunks. Toss chunks in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake till eggplant chunks are brown.
While waiting for eggplant to roast, add finely chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, half of the cilantro, salt pepper, cumin powder and smoked paprika. Cook on medium heat in a shallow pan until sauce is reduced by half - it should be thick.
Mash roasted eggplant with a fork and add tomato mixture to it. Adjust seasonings and add lemon juice and half of the cilantro. Drizzle some olive oil over it. Serve, with bread, pita or crudites.
You could also try my chickpea dip .