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2000s Recipes + Menus

Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes

Serves4 (side dish or dip, makes about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
April 2009
Eat this as a dip with pita, as a sidekick to fish or lamb, or as a surprising alternative to ketchup on a burger—the possibilities for this easy dish are practically endless. The key to its smoky flavor and silky texture is to grill the whole eggplant until its skin is charred and the inside flesh has collapsed (be sure to drain off any liquid that collects as the eggplant cools, since it may be bitter). We love the classic combination of cumin, garlic, and lemon, but the extra dash of smoked paprika (left over from Catalan-Style Fresh Sardine Escabeche) does double duty, playing up the eggplant’s smokiness and adding a hint of sweetness, which complements the tomatoes.
  • 1 (1 1/2-lb) eggplant
  • 4 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (pimentón dulce)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • equipment:

    a grill pan
  • Heat grill pan over medium heat until hot. Pierce eggplant in several places and grill, turning occasionally, until skin is charred and eggplant collapses and is very tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer eggplant to a bowl and cool.
  • Meanwhile, squeeze out seeds from tomato halves and grate cut sides on the large holes of a box grater until just skin remains. (You should have about 1 cup pulp.) Discard skins.
  • Cook garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne in oil with 1/2 tsp salt in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in tomato pulp and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Discard any collected liquid from around eggplant. Scoop eggplant flesh from skin and chop eggplant. Stir together with tomato mixture, parsley, and lemon juice. Season with salt.
Cooks’ note: Dish keeps, chilled, 2 weeks.