This creamy, smoky eggplant (aubergine) dip is a mainstay of many cheap Lebanese restaurants and some very average renditions abound. This is good news for you as most likely the best version you will try is the one you make at home.
Many versions of this recipe can be found and this one is by no means definitive, it is just the one I find the yummiest. The addition of tahini is most likely not authentic, but rounds out the dish nicely with a full and sensuous sesame flavour.
Serve up with some good quality bread or for an extra special treat, try making your own flatbread. If you like this stuff, try making smoked eggplant, which shares most of the ingredients but has a few funky twists on the theme.
As with smoked eggplant, you will need an open flame for this recipe, either wood fire or a gas stovetop flame.
Pierce the skin of the eggplant several times with the tines of a fork. Place them directly over a flame and roast until the skin has blistered and they have collapsed a little. Turn over and do the other side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Slice the top (calyx) from the eggplant and then slice in half lengthways. Scoop out the now soft flesh with a spoon. Don't despair if a little charred skin comes along. Place into a sieve or colander and allow to drain for 20 minutes.
Place the eggplant into a food processor along with the garlic, tahini and lemon juice. Whizz unitl finely pureed. With the motor running add some oil in a steady stream until so it incorporates into the eggplant, rendering it appetizingly glossy. Start with 60 ml (1/4 cup) and add more if necessary. You are after a nice dipping consistency.
Transfer to a bowl and add salt and pepper. Taste and check if it needs more lemon or tahini. It most usually does. When it tastes perfect, spoon into a serving bowl, smooth out the top and drizzle with a little more olive oil, scattering the parsley over. Serve up with lots of bread.
Lasts up to 3 days, covered in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.