There are so many ways to include vegetables in your meals. The most exciting way, in my opinion, is to make a bunch of mezes /tapas /small plates for dinner instead of a typical main dish-side-and-salad dinner.
This is a baba ganoush but without mayonnaise or tahini, instead you drizzle a a paprika & chili oil. My mother gave me the recipe two weeks ago and I’m hooked. It’s better to make the oil a few days in advance. The longer time the oil sits with the paprikas, the tastier.
When you burn the skin on the stove, gas or electric, the eggplant’s meat becomes tender, sweet and smoky. It’s delicious.
- When you buy eggplants, make sure that their skin is glossy and that they feel light in your hand.
- You can burn the eggplants directly on a gas or electric range – same result.
- If you don’t like smoky flavors – you’re nuts – you can bake the eggplants in the oven at 400°F (200°C) for 30 minutes, which, to be honest, is easier and less messy but doesn’t have the smoky flavor.
Smokey Eggplant dip.
- 1 large eggplant - or 2 small ones
- 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove - optional
- 1/4 cup paprika & chili oil (see notes)*
- 1-2 small sweet peppers - optional
- 1 scallion
- Rinse the eggplants and red pepper and dry. Put them over the burner on high heat until that side of them is burned. Rotate and flip until they are burnt all over. Their skin should be black all over.
- Remove from the heat and place in a colander with a plate under it (they will release liquids) until the eggplant cools down.
- Cut the burnt eggplants lengthwise. Using a soup spoon, gently, scrape their meat and put it back in the colander. Squeeze half of the lemon over and let them drain for 5 minutes. Add the eggplants to a medium bowl or deep plate.
- Squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over the eggplant. Drizzle the paprika chili oil and crush the garlic clove in. Add the chopped scallion and diced sweet pepper and salt, and and mix. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if necessary. Serve immediately or put in a container or jar and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.