Here at Portland Monthly, we’ve tried to refrain from posting recipes for party dishes over the past year or so. Gathering with anyone outside your household has been not only inadvisable, but at times illegal. But now that more and more of the population has been vaccinated, some people are starting to get together in small groups—while others of us are still patiently hunkered down at home waiting for the jab. Regardless of where you’re at in the vaccine rollout, though, you can make this eggplant dip—whether you’re prepping a week of work-from-home lunches or gathering with a few of your vaccinated friends.
This smoked eggplant dip is part of the lineup of Sesame Staples—jarred dips (creamy hummus!), sauces (spicy, verdant green s’hug!), sides (tahina beets!), and shakshuka kits—that launched last week from the Sesame Collective. The collective is a restaurant group founded in 2020 consisting of Yalla, Bless Your Heart Burgers, Shalom Y’all, and Mediterranean Exploration Company; these are their first ready-to-eat products. Grab them online, if you’re so inclined, on the Sesame Staples website.
Sesame Staples Smoked Eggplant Dip
By Executive Chef Kasey Mills
Makes about 1 quart
- 3 eggplants
- 2 tbsp tahina
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1–2 garlic cloves, minced
- 10 mint leaves, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
Place eggplants on a hot grill for about 20 minutes until charred but soft. If you don’t have a grill, broil in the oven until blistered, charred but soft, also about 20 minutes. The goal is to blacken the skins and cook the eggplant meat. Use your tongs to check the eggplant; they should be slightly firm, but should give and feel soft. Put eggplants in a colander to cool.
Meanwhile, add tahina, lemon juice, olive oil, and yogurt to a food processor. Add garlic cloves and blend. Add mint leaves and blend.
Take off the stems of the eggplants once cooled, and remove the skins, being careful to save the meat. Add to the food processor with 2 tsp of salt. Pulse for 20 seconds. Texture is key here: you want some texture, and you don’t want it to be completely smooth. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.
Serving suggestions: Top with fresh mint and drizzle with smoked olive oil, and serve alongside pita bread and veggies. Or, drizzle with fresh olive oil and top with a chiffonade of spinach and toasted walnuts mixed with lemon juice for a party dip with pita chips. It also works as a side with fish, like halibut, or alongside grilled asparagus.