Smoky aubergine dip

Smoky aubergine dip

Patlıcan ezmesi

By
From
Istanbul
Serves
4
Photographer
Steven Joyce

This dip is made with aubergines cooked by charring them whole and with the skin on, over a gas ring, on a barbecue or under the grill. It’s another dish which comes in all sorts of different guises in Istanbul – you can add anything from grilled peppers to a dollop of plain yoghurt or roasted tomatoes to transform it into something quite different, but equally moreish. The crucial thing, though, is that you burn the aubergines thoroughly. A great Istanbul chef, Gencay Ucok, who runs a restaurant called Meze by Lemon Tree, gave me this advice: “If you think the aubergines are done, they’re not done. And if you run them under water to remove the skins, you’ll wash out all the flavour.” And he is quite right.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 large aubergines
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt

Method

  1. To char the aubergines, if using a gas hob, place a sheet of foil around the bottom of the ring, below the gas, to protect the hob from drips. If using a grill, turn it up to its highest setting. Place the aubergines as close to the heat as possible (directly onto the ring if using gas) and allow each side to scorch until the skin is blackened and blistering and the flesh is beginning to collapse. Turn to ensure even cooking. This will take 30 minutes under the grill, or around 15–20 minutes per aubergine on a gas ring, depending on size.
  2. Place the charred vegetables in a bowl and splash 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice over each one. Allow to cool. Lay them on a board and split lengthways down the middle. Scoop out the flesh, avoiding the black, charred skin as much as possible. Some Turkish cooks avoid any flesh that is slightly discoloured, but I like the intense smoky flavour it gives to this dish. (If you want to avoid discoloured flesh, you will need to blacken another aubergine to get enough untainted flesh.)
  3. Squeeze the flesh to remove excess moisture – it will be quite wet – and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the garlic, olive oil, parsley and a little salt, to taste. Mash it gently with a fork – not too much or you will lose its pleasing, chunky texture. Serve as part of a meze with flatbreads or crudités.
Tags:
Istanbul
Turkey
Turkish
Rebecca
Seal
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