Eggplant Dip Topped with Fattoush Salad

fattoush-eggplant-dip2

I realize I profess my love for eggplants all the time, but this eggplant dip topped with a variation on fattoush salad is everything I dream about when I dream about food (the vast majority of my waking hours). If you’ve read this recipe for Ridiculously Simple and Creamy Eggplant Dip and tried it out for yourself, whether you left it true to form or tried any of the other suggested additions, then you’ll know the value of roasting a whole eggplant until it looks like a shrivelled up witch’s foot. This isn’t a true fattoush salad as I’ve added a few extra ingredients but it’s definitely reminiscent of the original; I admit that when I have a jar of pickled peperoncini peppers in the fridge I feel compelled to add them to just about everything. This has become a beloved party dip over the span of a month and I’ve eaten it solo in my pyjamas for dinner at least 5 times (I don’t bother with anything to use as a dipping vessel, a fork does just fine thank you very much). As long as you make sure to drain the cut up tomatoes and cucumber on some paper towel before adding them to the eggplant base you can have leftovers the next day, just be warned that raw garlic seems to become exponentially stronger after a night sitting in the fridge – approach with caution.

Brown shallow earthenware bowl filled with eggplant dip and with a topping of fattoush salad

eggplant dip topped with fattoush salad:

for the eggplant dip:

1 eggplant, scored several times and roasted whole at 425 degrees for 1 hour or until black and shrivelled on the outside

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. plain yogurt

1-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 tsp. Ras El Hanout

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Scoop out the custardy eggplant insides and combine in a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Use a large fork to whip the mixture into a frenzy until it becomes a creamy and relatively smooth dip. Set aside while you make the fattoush salad.

for the fattoush salad:

About 1/2 cup cucumber chopped into smallish pieces, laid out and drained on a piece of paper towel for 20 minutes

About 1/2 cup tomato cut into small chunks, laid out and drained on a piece of paper towel for 20 minutes

3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

5 pickled peperoncini peppers, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of parsley, torn into very small pieces

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. sumac

Generous pinch of dried chili flakes

Kosher salt

In a salad bowl gently toss together the cucumber, tomato, scallions, and peperoncini peppers. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil and top with the sumac and chili flakes, adding a pinch of kosher salt to round out the flavours.

Transfer the eggplant dip to a shallow bowl and spoon the fattoush salad over top, adding another drizzle of olive oil for presentation and extra flavour. Serve with pita bread or crispy baguette slices, or with a fork and nothing else.

Walking in the rain for long periods of time makes me feel more alive than a stroll on a sunny day. The ocean is best when it’s entirely greyscale, and listening to the combined sound of water lapping on the shore and rain falling on wet leaves is like a being wrapped in the most comforting blanket imaginable. But I’ve realized it’s also been a month of depressing music, lots of downtempo, minimal everything, and more Nick Drake than you can shake a stick at. I’ve been making the attempt for a full single day now, and although it’s been tempting to listen to the new Casino Versus Japan album nonstop I’ve been filling my ears with Teeel’s gloriously synthy good times. And you know what? I had a bit more bounce in my step tonight when I walked to the beach in the pouring rain.

Teeel – Temple of the Sun

Ridiculously Simple and Creamy Eggplant Dip (Vegan, Too!)

A white round bowl full of creamy eggplant dip, garnished with fresh basil and mint beside a bowl of grilled baguette slices.

I’ve had the pleasure of cooking for my London, Ontario family this past week which has been extra pleasurable because I’ve been able to do it in a proper backyard with a barbecue and copious glasses of wine and gin and tonics (oof, my liver will need a break after this vacation). I made this eggplant dip as an easy appetizer and served it with a big bowl of grilled baguette slices, resulting in a creamy and chewy combination of textures that made everyone exclaim how tasty this recipe is. That’s the best part of this recipe, it’s ridiculously simple and endlessly adaptable but this is the dip at its most simple: Greek yogurt, tahini, sesame oil, soy sauce, minced ginger, cumin, and all sorts of fresh and dried herbs could be added (or not!) and it will always be fantastic.

ridiculously simple and creamy eggplant dip:

1 large eggplant

1-2 finely minced cloves of garlic

Juice of one lemon

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Dried chilies

Lots of fresh basil and mint, cut in a chiffonade

  1. Pierce the eggplant several times with a fork. Either grill the eggplant over direct heat until shrunken and almost inedible looking OR do the same in a very hot oven for up to an hour. If you have a gas oven you can also directly char the eggplant on the flames until caved in and black.
  2. Scoop out the custardy eggplant insides into a bowl and whip up with a for until a super creamy consistency is created.
  3. Stir in the garlic, lemon juice, a few generous slugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Decant into a shallow bowl and drizzle with more olive oil. Top with dried chilies, fresh basil and mint. Serve with grilled or toasted baguette slices that have been brushed with olive oil before toasting.

Richard Hawley is good hanging out with your dad in the backyard while barbecuing music, I think anyone would agree with that. He’s like Johnny Cash, but new and different so you can talk about it with each other. Plus there’s something fall-ish about Richard Hawley, warm and inviting, lush and poignant.

Richard Hawley – Run For Me