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Smoky eggplant and pepper dip

February 16, 2011

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Serves 6

At Sabur in Somerville, chef-owner Haris Jusufbegovic makes this dip with eggplant that he smokes himself. Without a smoker, add woodsy flavor by roasting the eggplant in an oven and then adding pimenton, a Spanish paprika made from smoked peppers. Roasted red peppers and pimenton pair sweet and smoky; eggplant and olive oil ensure a creamy texture.

2 medium eggplant, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup olive oil
2 red bell peppers
1 small fresh chili pepper, cored, halved, and seeded
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons pimenton (smoked paprika)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Rub the eggplant halves with some of the olive oil. Place them cut sides down in a roasting pan. Set the peppers beside them.

2. Roast the eggplant and peppers for 30 minutes or until they are both tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

3. Core and seed the peppers. With a small sharp knife, gently rub off and discard the skins.

4. In a food processor, combine the eggplant, peppers, chili, garlic, salt, pimenton, and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Blend the mixture until it forms a puree. With the motor running, add the remaining oil a little at a time. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or smoked paprika, if you like. Serve at room temperature with crackers or pita.

Aaron Kagan.

Adapted from Sabur restaurant