With Dill

Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)
Method: Direct
Yield: Makes about 2 cups

2 long, slender eggplants (about 1 pound each)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and finely chopped
Lemon wedges, for serving
Pita bread for serving

Set up a charcoal grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

When ready to cook, prick the eggplants in a few spots with a fork. Place them directly in the embers and grill until the skins are charred all over and the flesh is very soft, 5 to 8 minutes per side (20 to 32 minutes in all). Transfer the grilled eggplants to a plate to cool.

Scrape any really burnt skin off the eggplants, but leave some of it on; the dark spots will add color and character. Coarsely puree the eggplants and garlic in a food processor (or chop them by hand or mash them with a fork). Add the tahini, if using, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and pulse just to mix. Add the chopped dill and scallion and process in short bursts, just to mix (overprocessing will turn the dip green). Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice as necessary; the dip should be very flavorful. Transfer the dip to a shallow nonreactive bowl and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Garnish with the dill sprigs and serve with the lemon wedges and pita bread.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort