Brushing vegetable pieces with olive oil and roasting them cut sides down on a parchment-lined baking sheet is a good way to caramelize them without having them stick to the pan. The method works beautifully with the eggplant for this easy summertime dip, which is great on its own or as part of a Mediterranean mezze platter.
Harissa is a North African spice paste, available at an increasing number of grocery stores as well as Mediterranean markets.
Make Ahead: The dip can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in advance and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.
Yield: Makes 3 cups
- 3 large or 4 medium eggplants (3 1/2 to 4 pounds total; this can be a combination of purple, white and variegated varities)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon homemade or store-bought harissa (see related recipe and headnote)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut/discard the tops and rounded bottoms of each eggplant, then cut each vegetable in half lengthwise. Score the cut sides with few crosshatch, shallow swipes of a knife, then use the oil to liberally brush each cut side. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then arrange cut sides down on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants, until the flesh is tender. Invert and cool for 10 minutes.
Use a spoon to scrape the roasted flesh onto a cutting board. Coarsely chop, discarding the skins and any large groups of seeds. Transfer to a serving bowl, along with the lemon juice, parsley and harissa, stirring to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with a drizzle of oil and a bit of parsley. Serve right away, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a day.
From FreshFarm Markets market manager Nikki Caporale.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.