Yield: 3½ cups dip; serving size ½ cup
2 ¼ pounds eggplant (2 large or 3 small American/globe eggplants)
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated black lime (see notes)
½ cup loosely packed mint leaves
½ cup loosely packed basil leaves
Finishing salt to taste
¼ cup pickled seasonal vegetables (optional)
3 tablespoons chili oil (optional)
¼ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)
Notes: This recipe uses the common purple eggplants known as globe eggplants or American eggplants.
• Black limes, or preserved limes, are popular in Mediterranean cooking and are available at international grocers. For the recipe, we grated half a whole black lime using a handheld microplane rasp grater. It can also be found online, already grated.
• Because this recipe makes a lot of dip, we chose to use finishing salt with each serving rather than salt the entire batch.
• At Louie, the charred eggplant dip is served garnished with chili oil, pickled vegetables and parsley. It is served with Louie’s freshly baked hearth breads.
1. Wash eggplants. Split eggplants in half lengthwise and trim leaves from the top.
2. To prepare eggplants in the oven: Set one rack to 6-inches under the broiler. Set a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat broiler to high.
3. Place halves cut side up on a sheet pan. Measure 4 tablespoons of oil into a small dish. Brush the tops with oil. Place pan under the broiler until the tops are blackened. For the test, we timed it at 10 minutes total, rotating the sheet halfway through.
4. Turn off the broiler and set oven to 325 degrees. Bake eggplants 25 to 30 minutes until the back of the eggplant is soft to the touch.
5. To grill: Measure 4 tablespoons of oil into a small dish. Brush the tops with oil. Place halves grill side down and cook slowly until the tops are completely black and the back of the eggplant is soft to the touch.
6. Remove eggplant from the oven or grill and place in a plastic container with a lid. Close the lid and allow the eggplant to steam for 30 minutes.
7. Using a spoon, very carefully scrape the flesh out and discard the skin.
8. Place the scraped eggplant in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, black lime, garlic, mint and basil leaves. Stir to mix.
9. Add one-fourth of the eggplant mixture to a standard blender. Pour in ¼ cup of the remaining oil. Pulse two or three times on the puree setting, then turn the blender on and time it to run for 1 full minute. The mixture should be very smooth.
10. Remove the pureed eggplant to a bowl, then repeat the process three more times. Stir each batch into the bowl.
11. Taste, then add salt or the finishing salt of your choice to taste. Garnish with pickled vegetables, chili oil and parsley, if using.
12. Store covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
Per (½ cup) serving: 370 calories; 38g fat; 5g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 2g protein; 11g carbohydrate; 5g sugar; 5g fiber; 337mg sodium; 28mg calcium