When gripped in a heatwave, as most of the country was last week, the grill might not be be the first place you'd want to be. At the same time, when I was considering making this melitzanosalata, a Greek roasted eggplant dip, the prospect of having the oven going seemed even worse.
Most recipes for melitzanosalata have you roast the eggplant in the oven for 30 minutes until it's completely soft, but after grilling the eggplant and avoiding that oven heat, I'd argue it's grill or nothing for this dip (the grill is the more traditional method anyway).
There are very few ingredients in this dip—roasted eggplant, lemon juice, garlic olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper. The grill added a smokiness that you can definitely taste. If you went the oven route, you'd miss that flavor altogether.
The chilled end product had a nice cooling effect, with creamy smokiness balancing the fresh lemon and parsley. It's a refreshing pay-off for the heat endured while making it.
About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.
- 2 large eggplants, each poked uniformly over surface with fork
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place eggplants on grill and cook until soft throughout, about 30 minutes, turning eggplants every 5 minutes. Transfer eggplants to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Split eggplants in half and spoon out pulp into a colander placed in a bowl or in sink; discard skin. Let pulp drain for 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer eggplant to workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Add garlic and lemon juice and pulse to combine. With the food processor running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, then serve.