|Roasted Eggplant & Greek Yogurt Dip|
|Right Food for the Season - Late Summer|
|Written by Michelle Lahey|
Cumin is a smoky, warm spice used in a wide variety of dishes and cuisines - but this amateur cook finds it best paired with the sweet and smoky flavors of roasted, local eggplant.
Growing up, I don't recall many spices being used in my mother's cooking. Somehow, though, all of her family-style meals were full of flavor, despite the lack of seasonings used. She also made enough food for an army, but that's an article for another day. Since I began cooking for myself back in college, however, I have become aware of the thousands of spices out there - current favorites being cayenne pepper, freshly-cracked black pepper, and cumin powder.
So, when the final week of our summer CSA included a giant eggplant - and an impending soon-to-be father-in-law's birthday party - this cumin lover decided to make a smoky, creamy dip that consisted of roasted eggplant, cumin (obviously), and garam masala. The end result: An exotically-flavored, wonderfully thick and creamy dip that was delightfully addictive. Served with sesame crackers, this dip was quite the hit at the birthday bash, too.
Roasted Eggplant & Greek Yogurt Dip
Yields: About 1 cup
1 large eggplant
1 tbsp. olive oil
One clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Cumin powder, to taste
Garam masala, to taste
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub or brush olive oil over the eggplant; place eggplant in a shallow baking dish, and puncture in a few places with a fork. Cut a small slit in the bulbous section of the eggplant and place the garlic clove inside. Roast for 50-60 minutes, or until completely soft, turning the eggplant 2 or 3 times during the roasting process.
Let eggplant cool, then cut lengthwise and scrape out the flesh using a wooden spoon. Discard the stem and skin, and set the flesh and garlic clove aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine the eggplant flesh, garlic and yogurt, and season with cumin, garam masala, salt and pepper. Process in short pulses until smooth. Stir in parsley and lemon juice; taste, and add extra seasoning as necessary.
Cover and refrigerate dip for several hours, to allow the flavors to mesh together. Serve with thick crackers or pita bread.