Grilling: Ember-Roasted Onion and Garlic Dip with Crispy Pita

With a big move happening this weekend, and my kitchen all packed up, I wanted to make sure there was some food that didn't require the use of utensils during the endless hours of packing. Along with some leftover tzatziki, another dip with chips seemed to fit the bill, and a recipe for a roasted onion and garlic dip jumped out at me while flipping through my cookbooks as they went into boxes.

I'm a sucker for grilled onions—I love the mix of sweet, caramelized outsides, with a bit of crunch still left in the middle. This recipe called for an onion grilling method that was new to me: wrapping onion halves and garlic into foil, then nestling them directly in the coals. After 30 minutes I removed the packet, and awaiting me when I opened it were beautifully browned onions that had my mouth watering already.

The onions and garlic then took a quick spin in the food processor with some standard dip ingredients, after which I took a taste with pitas that I grilled while waiting for the onions to cool. It was good, but to my dismay, the rich onion flavor that I was expecting was little subdued. So I stuck the dip in the fridge and went back to it the next day. Overnight it transformed into the perfect balance between onions and garlic, while mixing subtly with the remaining ingredients. It has now served its purpose of keeping me happily sustained for a week without a kitchen.

About the author: Joshua Bousel blogs about grilling on his blog, The Meatwave, and appears weekly here on Serious Eats during grilling season.

Ember-Roasted Onion and Garlic Dip with Crispy Pita

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Grilling: Ember-Roasted Onion and Garlic Dip with Crispy Pita

About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: Memorial Day Menus

Ingredients

  • For the Dip:
  • 2 medium yellow onions (skin on), cut in half through the stem
  • 4 large garlic cloves (skin on)
  • Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire auce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 6 pita pockets

Procedures

  1. 1

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly.

  2. 2

    Lay the onion halves, cut side down, on a 16-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil. Nestle garlic cloves between the onions. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil over the onions and garlic. Fold up the sides of the foil and seal the packet. Place the packet directly on the coals, cover grill, and cook until a knife inserted into the foil slides through the onions with no resistance, about 20 to 30 minutes, carefully turning the packet once during cooking. Remove the packet with tongs and set aside to cool to room temperature.

  3. 3

    Brush the cooking grate clean. Lightly brush each pita on both sides with oil. Working in batches, grill pitas until crisp and toasted, 2 to 4 minutes, turning frequently and swapping positions as needed for even cooking.

  4. 4

    Open the packet and remove and discard the skins and hard stems from the onions and garlic. Place roasted onions and garlic in a food processor and pulse until almost puréed. Add all of the remaining dip ingredients and process until quite smooth. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Cut each pita into wedges and serve with dip.

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