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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Georgian eggplant dip

Sort of a dip, sort of a spread, this eggplant dish is anything but boring. Scented with khmeli suneli and studded with ground walnuts and garlic, smokey grilled eggplant is mashed together to create a flavor-packed appetizer, snack, or sandwich filling. Serve it with sliced veggies or pita for scooping, or slather it on good bread and top with sliced tomatoes and fresh herbs for a summery tartine.



Georgian Eggplant Dip

2 medium eggplants
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
2 cloves garlic
4 sprigs cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon khmeli suneli
1 to 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or red wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Grill the eggplants over a hot charcoal grill, turning occasionally until completely blackened and soft when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. You can also "grill" the eggplants over the flame of a gas stove, by setting the eggplant directly on the burner and turning every few minutes with tongs. It'll make a bit of a mess, but you really want the smokey flavor achieved from charring the eggplant over an open flame. Set the grilled eggplants aside to cool.

Meanwhile, pulse the walnuts, garlic, and cilantro together in a food processor, just until crumbly. 

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to peel away and discard the skin. (Don't worry if a few charred bits of skin stick on - more flavor!) Put the flesh into a large bowl, then add the ground walnut mixture, the khmeli suneli, and 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate molasses or vinegar. Stir/mash everything together with a fork, then taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt to taste and more pomegranate molasses or vinegar if it needs an acidic boost. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with a few cilantro leaves.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

This post is part of our series on Georgia cuisine. For others in the series check out:

New Georgian Spices
Georgian Eggplant Dip
Georgian Spiced Grilled Lamb and Chicken
Q&A With Jenny Holm
One of My Favorite Georgian Dishes: Kidney Beans



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