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Author Notes: I learned this eggplant dish from a Romanian grandmother who is not only a marvelous cook, but also a gardener who raises all the vegetables for the family. She smokes her eggplant in a wood-fire outside, but I have tried to adapt the recipe using a barbecue or oven. Use a high quality olive oil and don’t be stinting, though I freely admit I use a lot less than the original recipe! The dip should have the consistency of cream and a smoky aroma.
Be careful to use an egg from a source you trust. I buy mine very fresh from an organic stand at the farmer’s market. Once you let the dip come to room temperature, you should eat it all at once as it should not keep. This is never a problem at my house!
Serves a lot of people
- 3 medium eggplants
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Prick the eggplants with a fork several times and burn the heck out of them. Burn them until they are completely crisp and black on all sides and and a wilted mess within. How you burn them is up to you. If you have a barbecue or a smoker, throw them on and grill them on all sides. You can also put them on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil and stick them under the broiler. Set an alarm to remind you to flip them every 20 minutes. This should take you at least 1 hour, probably longer, depending on your method.
- When the eggplants look like burn trauma victims, let them cool until you can safely handle them. Scoop the insides into a cuisinart and discard the burned skins. Make sure that no burned pieces fall into the cuisinart. If you have burned them sufficiently, the insides should simply fall out of the skins with no effort or scraping.
- Add the salt, the juice of half a lemon, and the egg yolk.
- Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding more salt or a squeeze of lemon to taste.
- Refrigerate, preferrably for at least an hour and not more than a day, then serve at room temperature with slices of baguette.
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