With temperatures on the rise (finally!) in NYC, I'm looking forward to summery dinners–lots of salads and vegetables, fruit so juicy it doesn't need to be baked into a cake, dreaming of the day when I have a grill...you get the idea. I made this eggplant dip the other day for my book club and it would make a perfect start to any spring or summer dinner party (whether or not you have a grill) and is an unexpected alternative to the same old hummus and carrot sticks.
Make sure to char the eggplant thoroughly, it gives it this amazing smoky flavor you don't get from just roasting.
Charred Eggplant Dip (adapted from Food & Wine)
One 1 1/4-pound eggplant
2 large shallots, halved lengthwise
3 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 tablespoons minced mint
Preheat the oven to 375°. Roast the eggplant over an open flame until softened and charred, 12 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish. Add the shallots and garlic to the eggplant, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper; roast for 35 minutes, until very tender. Let cool completely. Scrape the eggplant flesh into a colander to drain for 15 minutes; discard the skin.
Mince the eggplant, garlic and shallots; transfer to a bowl. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice and herbs. Season the dip with salt and pepper and serve.