My Recipe Box

Rustic Eggplant Dip (Melanzanosalata)

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Serves eight to ten.

Yields about 2 cups.

  • Make the menu:
    A Greek Meze Party
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 93

Grilling the eggplant adds a wonderful smoky flavor. But broiling or roasting it makes a dip that’s just as delicious.

  • 2 small eggplants (1-1/2 lb. total)
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup seeded and finely diced fresh tomato
  • 2 Tbs. minced yellow onion
  • 1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a medium gas or charcoal grill fire (charcoal will give a smokier flavor). Prick the eggplants once with the tip of a paring knife to prevent them from swelling and exploding and rub all over with 1 Tbs. of the oil. Grill, covered but turning every few minutes, until the eggplants are very soft inside and the skins are charred, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

Cut the stems off the eggplants and peel away the charred skin; discard the stems and skin. Coarsely chop the flesh and transfer it to a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1 tsp. oil and the tomato, onion, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano or marjoram, thyme, mint, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Season to taste with more salt. Serve cool or at room temperature with fresh pita wedges or toasted pita chips.

Make Ahead Tips

The eggplant can be grilled or broiled several hours or up to 2 days before making the salad. For best flavor, make the dip a day ahead.

Variations

Can’t grill the eggplant? Use the oven.

To broil the eggplants, position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Prick the eggplants once with a paring knife to prevent them from exploding. Put them on the baking sheet and rub all over with 1 Tbs. olive oil. Broil, turning once, until the skin is charred in spots and the flesh is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

If your oven doesn’t have a broiler element, you can roast the eggplants instead. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Prick and oil the eggplants as directed above. Roast until the skins are wrinkled and the eggplant flesh is very soft, about 1 hour.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1 Tbs.; Calories (kcal): 10; Fat (g): fat g 0.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 5; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 0; Protein (g): protein g 0; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 1; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 35; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This dish reminds me very much of an eggplant dip I used to order in a Turkish restaurant. I was skeptical about whether you could get that nice smoky flavor using the oven method, but it worked very well and was amazingly easy. I added a little finely diced bell pepper to make it like the version I used to order and it was delicious.

Delicious and healthy. If you are like me and tend to chop rather coarsely, a few seconds with the handheld blender before serving gives a nice puree.

A good starter recipe for eggplant dip. Don't be afraid to experiment with the fresh herbs, and a dash of good balsamic vinegar adds a nice zing.

My personal favorite of the meze party, served on fresh pita. I suggest using a stick blender on the eggplant before adding the other ingredients. Bright but smokey at the same time, absolutely delicious.

I have made eggplant dips before, but this one just didn't work for me. Somewhat watery and the flavors didn't meld.

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