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Easy Roasted Eggplant Dip

Roasted Eggplant Dip | Delightful Crumb

It’s a lovely time of year, this moment where summer meets fall. The days toggle from hot to cool, there’s a new crisp wind on certain mornings, the markets burst with the last of summer’s bounty and the beginning of autumn’s. It’s hard to decide whether to dedicate the space and weight in the market bags to multiple ears of corn or apples or those first lovely squashes—which I know I’ll tire of at some point this winter, but that’s hard to imagine now. On top of that layer of heavy things, I balance fat eggplants and late-season tomatoes and whichever fresh green herbs are still abundant.

It’s an easy time to eat, though the truth is that I feel that way much of the time—every season but the deepest weeks of winter, and even then on my good days (stay tuned . . . ?). At the least, the market is my favorite starting point for a meal. My most beloved menus are an assemblage of things—some sort of bread as the anchor, plus multiple selections from among the following: dips and spreads, salads (raw or cooked, leafy and/or composed), soup (hot or chilled), cheeses, jams, good butter. It might be more work—though sometimes it isn’t. (Make something[s] ahead of time, buy a prepared option at the fancy store in your neighborhood, choose at least one item that requires nothing but slicing and assembling, etc.) It is usually more fun. It’s the best way I know to accommodate an allergy or aversion without much fuss—for either you or your guest. And it yields the loveliest, most generous table, save the likes of Thanksgiving.

This eggplant dip has been a staple of my spread this summer and fall. It could hardly be easier, and the results are delicious. You can make adjustments to your preferences, roast the eggplant while you do other things, prepare it ahead of time if needed. It’s excellent with flatbread, slices of good bread, crackers and/or crudités. I hope it finds its way to your table before you succumb to squashes—at which point you can switch to this fabulous number via Yotam Ottolenghi and welcome the change with open arms and a full table.

Roasted Eggplant Dip with Mint & Sumac

There are plenty of recipes along these lines in the world. This is my version, with many options included in the instructions that follow so that you can choose your own adventure. Additionally: if you don’t have mint or parsley, sub another soft green herb or skip this altogether. Sesame seeds and pomegranate seeds are excellent topping options as well.

Roasted Eggplant Dip | Delightful Crumb

2 medium or 1 large eggplant

Tahini

Greek yogurt

Extra-virgin olive oil

Red wine vinegar

1 lemon

Salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Aleppo or red pepper flakes (optional)

Flaky salt

Fresh mint or parsley

Sumac (optional but recommended)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice an “x” in the eggplant(s) in several places to prevent oven explosions. Roast for about an hour, flipping the eggplant once if you think of it, until the skin is dark and the eggplant has collapsed somewhat. A knife should slide through without any resistance. Let the eggplant cool slightly, until you can handle it without burning your fingers.

Once cool, scoop the eggplant flesh into a bowl. Don’t worry if some of the skin comes along (I like the added texture). Add a big spoonful each of tahini and Greek yogurt. Pour in a long drizzle of olive oil. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, the juice from half of the lemon, a generous pinch of salt, some freshly ground black pepper and, if you like, a pinch of Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes. Use a whisk to mix aggressively.

Taste the dip and adjust any elements to your preferences. You might want to add more tahini or Greek yogurt for thickness and flavor (more depth from tahini or zing from yogurt), olive oil for richness, vinegar or lemon juice for brightness, salt for balance, etc.

Spread the dip on a plate, making swirls with the back of a spoon. Top with more olive oil, flaky salt, fresh herbs and, optionally, sumac or pepper flakes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with flatbreads, bread, crackers and/or crudités.

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