You can make this dip a day ahead, and store it in a container in the fridge. Smear it onto various carbohydrates, or use it as a vehicle for even more vegetables. A shower of fresh parsley or cilantro would be welcome. —Cristina Sciarra
Cut the eggplant in half. Pour a measure of olive oil onto the face of each half, and use your fingers to distribute it evenly. (Do this quickly! The eggplant soaks up the olive oil like a sponge.) Rub olive oil all over the outside of each eggplant half, too. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto each face, and then place each half facedown on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Roughly chop the onion. Toss the onion, along with the garlic cloves, with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Move to the baking sheet.
Roast the eggplant, onion, and garlic for 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and let everything cool for about 10 minutes, or until you can handle the vegetables without burning yourself.
Use a spoon to scoop out the (now soft) eggplant. Move the eggplant (everything but the stem and skin) to the bowl of a food processor. Add the roasted onion and garlic. Add a drizzle more olive oil, as well as the lemon juice, the tahini, the za’atar, and the harissa. Blend for 1 minute, until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on toast, with chips, or on sandwiches.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.