Monday, June 11, 2007

Roasted Eggplant Puree with Oil and Lemon

This creamy spread makes a great picnic meal with a good loaf of bread, or can be served alongside other Mediterranean appetizers.

2-3 large eggplants

1/2 cup or more extra-virgin olive oil

Juice from 2 lemons, strained

Salt and black pepper to taste

Roast the eggplants until the skins are completely blackened and charred and the inside flesh becomes creamy like custard. This is best accomplished by laying them directly onto coals. Alternately it can be done in the broiler or directly over a gas flame. (I baked mine in the oven on high heat.) Patience is the secret to really creamy eggplant, so be sure not to undercook them. Turn every five minutes or so to ensure even cooking.

Fill a bowl with as much olive oil as your conscience can handle (over a cup is not too much). When the eggplants are ready, let them cool a little bit, then peel away the charred skin and scoop out the buttery pulp with a spoon. Add the pulp to the oil and whisk it with a fork. This mixture will form an emulsion. If it doesn’t, it means the eggplants needed more time. (I’ve also pureed the mixture in a food processor or blender.)

Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Greenmarket Recipe Series, Tim Wilcox

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