Smoky Eggplant Dip with Olives & Feta
- 2 medium-large eggplants
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 2-3 oz crumbled feta
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes and more for garnish
- 1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives about 15 olives
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Use the end of a knife to deeply score the eggplants in a 1/2 inch cube pattern without slicing through the skin. Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until the eggplants fully collapse into themselves and the edges start to look charred, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the eggplant to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Scoop the eggplant out of the skins onto a cutting board and finely chop. Discard the skins and return the eggplant to the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to evenly combine.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.
- When ready to serve, garnish with more red pepper flakes and olives if desired.
- Take care not to completely burn the eggplant, you just want the edges to be nicely browned and slightly caramelized to mimic a smoky grilled flavor.
- I normally don't use this gadget but if you have it, a garlic press is perfect for this recipe, just press the garlic directly over the bowl of eggplant pulp.
- You can roast the eggplant and scoop out the pulp the day before you want to serve it. Store it in the fridge and pick up on step 3 the next day.
- Grilling the eggplant on a charcoal grill makes for an even smokier tasting dip.
Unofficial eggplant week continues here at the Rappaport house. I was overcome with eggplant lust at Aldi last week and brought home three(!) eggplants that were taking up way too much room in my fridge. I made lamb “stuffed” eggplant with one (although I scaled the recipe up to call for two when I posted it–I ended up with half of the lamb leftover) and then this dip. I’ve made some similar dips over the years but I normally go for more a Middle Eastern flare. I love melitzanosalata and was thinking about making that but since I’m shopping less frequently, I don’t have any parsley on hand which I feel is pretty essential. So instead I made this dip which is sort of the “loaded baked potato” version of melitzanosalata. Same basic concept–lemon, garlic, and eggplant–but adding in feta, red pepper flakes, and olives. I think they added a lot of savory flavor and important to me, texture to the dip. I love how silky eggplant gets when you roast or grill it and I always hand chop it for dips vs food processing it but I really enjoy some heft to dips I’m going to scoop up with pita or flatbreads. If you like a smoother dip, finely chop the olives and sprinkle it with feta as a garnish prior to serving.
I served this with pita/flatbread, spicy, sauce-less chicken meatballs, and stuffed grape leaves for an appetizers-for-dinner type deal. My favorite way to eat.