As I flipped through the pages of the new + absolutely gorgeous Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte (photographed by her super talented husband Hugh Forte), my first stop was this Chunky Mediterranean Eggplant dip, mysterious without a photograph, but super intriguing with with its description. It’s a riff on two of Sara’s favourite Middle Eastern dips, which just so happen to be my favourite too.
I read through the ingredient list quickly realized than it was going to be so much more than just a riff on two dips. One of the best about Sara’s recipes is the abundant use of herbs and powerful flavours, and this dip is the perfect example.
As I cook my way through Ottelenghi’s books, I accumulate odd-ish ingredients like za’atar and pomegranate molasses. While za’atar has already become a regular member of my dried herb + spice family, pomegranate molasses is still used with a bit of caution. I was super thrilled to have another recipe to use it in and I’m finding myself more and more comfortable playing with it as I observe its behaviour in other tried and true recipes.
Bowl + Spoon is beautiful, well thought out, and full of great recipes that are simple enough to serve in a bowl and with a spoon, made of fresh and healthy ingredients, and bursting with awesome ideas. I’m loving it, Sara + Hugh. Thank you!
Adapted from Bowl + Spoon . I made a few small changes (noted below).
- 1 large (or two small-ish) eggplants (about 1 lb)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small shallot
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/8th tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1.5 tsp. za’atar + more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeeze lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + more for finishing
- 2 Tbsp. tahini
- 1 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses (you can sub some extra lemon juice + a spoon of honey)
- 2 cups (or 1 can) of cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup chopped flat parsley
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro + more for garnish
- 2 Tbsp. mint leaves
- Turn on the broiler, poke some holes in the eggplant, and broil for about 20 – 30 minutes (this really depends on the heat of your broiler and the size of the eggplant), rotating every 5 – 10 minutes, until the eggplant collapses and is charred on all sides. Remove, and let it cool.
- Combine the garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, za’atar, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, and pomegranate molasses in your food processor and pulse until well combined.
- When the eggplant is cook to touch, peel it and roughly chop it.
- Add eggplant, chickpeas, and herbs to the food processor and pulse several times, until combined, yet still chunky. Unlike hummus (which I liker perfectly smooth), this dip is best with some texture, so keep that in mind and give it a little taste between pulses until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Transfer the dip to a bowl, drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle with za’atar (I also used a little sumac), garnish with some more herbs, and serve with veggies, crackers, or pita chips.
The recipe called for red wine vinegar, but I swapped in lemon juice, as my husband doesn’t like vinegar. I replaced 1 tsp. of black pepper with 1/8th tsp. of cayenne and increased the salt from 1/2 tsp. to 3/4 tsp. (personal taste). I also left out the mint (didn’t have any, despite my profile picture).