Roasted Aubergine and Red Onion Dip with Paprika Pitta Crisps
This rich and earthy dip is very similar to the popular Middle Eastern dish baba ganoush. It can be made the day before, and is easily adapted to include other spices such as cumin, fennel or chilli. You can also bake the pittas in cayenne pepper, sumac or five-spice powder for a slightly different flavour.
1 large aubergine
2 red onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
a pinch of sugar
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
For the paprika pitta crisps
5 pitta breads, halved lengthways and cut into strips
1 tbsp paprika (plain or smoked)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
To make the roasted aubergine and red onion dip, preheat the oven to 190˚C/gas mark 5.
Put the aubergine, onions and garlic on a baking sheet, then in the preheated oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes until soft, but remove the garlic after 10-15 minutes and the onions after 20-25 minutes.
When cooked, cut the aubergine in half, scoop out the flesh, and put it in a blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, remove and discard the soft cores and skins of the onions.
Blend the aubergine, onions, garlic, lemon zest, sugar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a purée. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, if needed.
To make the paprika pitta crisps, turn the oven up to 200˚C/gas mark 6. Drizzle a clean baking sheet with the olive oil, then sprinkle with the paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the pitta bread strips on the baking sheet and mix to coat. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes until slightly coloured and crisp.
Spoon the dip into a serving bowl and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if using. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with the pitta crisps on the side for dipping.
Extracted from Appetizers (Ryland Peters & Small, approx €18), out now. Photograph by William Reavell © Ryland Peters & Small