Eggplants and tomatoes are far from strangers. Whether baked gently in a ratatouille or simmered in a rich pasta sauce a la Norma, these friends blend seamlessly in many cuisines. This super garlicky eggplant and tomato dip in Louisa Shafia's cookbook The New Persian Kitchen is no exception.
Adding a new layer of complexity, however, is the inclusion of eggs, which thicken and bulk up what would otherwise be a glorified tomato sauce. The eggs transform the vegetables into a spread equally at home on a crudite platter, in a pita sandwich, or dolloped atop a warm bowl of rice.
Why I picked this recipe: Eggs? In an eggplant dip? I had to try it!
What worked: Evocative of both baba ganoush and ratatouille, the flavors in this dish were both familiar and foreign; and the end result indeed made for an equally good appetizer or light meal.
What didn't: My eggs curdled a bit (despite tempering them). Next time, I'll add them to the mixture with the burner off and let the residual heat cook them through.
Suggested tweaks: Shafia suggests using canned tomatoes instead of fresh should you not want to peel them yourself; the canned variety is also useful before tomatoes come into season. The dip does improve after an overnight rest. Reheat very gently over low heat, or let it come to room temperature on the counter before serving.
Reprinted with permission from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1 large eggplant (1 pound), sliced in half lengthwise
- 3 medium to large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet with grapeseed oil.
Lay the eggplant face down on the baking sheet, score the skin with a fork, and bake for about 1 hour, until very tender. When cool, scoop out the flesh and coarsely chop.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Cut a shallow X at the base of each tomato and boil for 1 minute, then plunge in the ice water. Pull off the skin and dice small.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, tomato paste, and turmeric. Cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened and the flavors of the garlic and turmeric have mellowed.
Take about 1/4 cup of the vegetables and whisk them with the eggs in a bowl. Add the mixture to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm topped with the extra-virgin olive oil.