Making an easy dip is a great party trick, and this all veggie snack comes together quick. Next time you’re grilling, you can make use of the last of the smoldering coals by nesting a couple eggplants and peppers and letting them char and smoke. They will take on a nice smoky flavor that’s subtle and really nice. Or fire up the grill and char these quickly over a hot flame.
Go the extra mile and grill your bread too: thick slices of crusty bread, brushed with a little olive oil and rubbed with a garlic clove and then toasted lightly over the grill.
If you’ve never roasted eggplant or peppers before, it’s quick and easy; here’s how: start with a high flame and set the veggies directly in the fire. Let it char and blacken the skin, moving them quickly with tongs to rotate and get all sides evenly. Remove and place in a covered heat-proof dish and let them sit for 10-15 minutes and steam. The blackened skins will peel away easily, discard the skin with the seeds and stems. For the eggplant, remove the skin and an extra step of salting the flesh to draw out the water and let it sit in a colander to drain for 5 minutes or so. The salt will draw out the moisture and you’ll have a silkier and thicker texture.
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1/4 c olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt, pepper to taste
Roast eggplant and pepper over high heat, peel and prepare (see above)
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to season to taste, adjusting any spices as well.
Serve with grilled bread, warm pita or naan.