My favorite meals are those vibrant dinners which are assembled from a bunch of dips, sides and small plates instead of ordinary main dish-side-and-salad dinner. We eat like that everyday but it never gets boring because they are colorful and abundance, like mini feasts. Or as my parents call them aruchot melachim, kings’ meals.
My mother gave me the recipe two weeks ago over the phone. She normally makes her salat chatzilim, eggplant salad or baba ganoush with mayonnaise. She said that since she discovered this recipe she only makes it this way.
A few things before you start:
– It’s better to make the paprika & chili oil a few days in advance. The longer time the oil sits with the paprikas, the tastier.
– When you buy eggplants, make sure that their skin is glossy and that they feel light in your hand.
– When you burn the skin on the stove, gas or electric, the eggplant’s meat becomes tender, sweet and smoky. It’s delicious.
Smokey Eggplant dip.
- 1 large eggplant - or 2 small ones
- 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove - optional
- ¼ 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.
- 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.
- The recipe for the paprika chili oil is here. In a nutshell: in a small jar, you mix together ½ tablespoons sweet paprika+ ¼ tablespoon smoked paprika+ ¼ tablespoon chili flakes, mixed with ¼ cup avocado or olive oil (let the oil sit for 20 minimum). Use only the oil. Save the leftover oil in the fridge.