Recipe: Roasted eggplant dip with walnuts

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 6

Note: This Turkish recipe is from Paula Wolfert's upcoming book, "The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen," which will be published in October by Wiley. Wolfert notes that the slower the grilling, the smokier the flavor of the eggplant. She thanks Dr. Ayse Baysal for sharing the recipe.

2 3/4 pounds eggplants

1 green bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

1 cup (3 ounces) chopped walnuts, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 scant cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Pierce the eggplants with a sharp fork in two or three places (to keep them from exploding) and place them as high as you can on a V-rack roaster. Set over a medium-low gas flame or over hot coals and grill, turning about three times, 15 minutes to a side, or until completely soft and the skin is black and blistery, about 45 minutes total. The longer and slower the grilling, the creamier the eggplant will be. When the eggplants collapse, remove from the grill and let cool slightly. Remove the black parched skin, then squeeze gently to remove any juices. Discard the juices, and crush the pulp to a purée with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, grill the pepper. Remove the pepper when soft, cover with a sheet of plastic and allow to cool. Core, seed and slip off the skin. Chop fine and mix with the eggplant.

3. Mash the garlic to a paste with half the walnuts and the salt in a mortar and pestle or food processor. Add the cheese, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and pulse to combine.

4. In a serving bowl, combine the garlic-walnut mixture with the eggplant-pepper pulp and mix well. Correct the seasoning. Mix the parsley and remaining walnuts and sprinkle on top. Serve with pita toasted until crisp. May be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for several days.

Note: When large eggplants are roasted whole, you may notice black juices seeping out of the skin. If this happens, immediately slit the eggplant on one side and drain on a slanted board in the sink..

Each serving: 303 calories; 10 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 23 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 21 mg. cholesterol; 333 mg. sodium.

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