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Categories: Grilled, Sauces and condiments, Vegetarian

Eggplant With Tahineh and Toasted Pine Nuts

Eggplant With Tahineh and Toasted Pine Nuts
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Exchanging recipes with neighbors is friendly and fun. But as a newlywed and a novice at the stove, I quickly found out that it can also be dangerous. When I lived in Bat Yam in metropolitan Tel Aviv, my next-door ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 6 to 8
Note: This rich, sesame-flavored, cream-colored dip is the most popular eggplant preparation in the Middle East. Its unique taste comes from tahineh, or sesame butter, accented with lemon juice and garlic. Use pure tahineh paste, not prepared tahineh sauce; the ingredient label on the jar should list only sesame. Usually there is oil on top; stir until blended before measuring it. If you're serving the dip's time-honored partner, pita bread, be sure to buy fresh, good-quality loaves from a Mideast market or bakery, not the thin, flimsy ones you find in some supermarkets. At Mideast grocery stores you'll also find red Aleppo pepper, which adds a gentle heat, more than paprika but much less than cayenne. For a festive presentation, I top the spread with pine nuts.
  • 2 eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tahineh (sesame paste), stirred until blended
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Aleppo pepper (Middle Eastern red pepper), paprika or cayenne, for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley, for garnish

Step 1Heat the grill or broiler.

Step 2Grill or broil the eggplants, turning them often, until their skin blisters and begins to blacken, then peel them.

Step 3Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet until light brown, 3 minutes, or toast them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing them often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Watch so they don't burn. Immediately transfer them to a plate.

Step 4Chop the eggplant with a knife to a slightly chunky puree. Transfer to a bowl. Add the garlic and mix well.

Step 5Spoon the tahineh into a bowl. Gradually stir in 6 tablespoons of lemon juice and the water. Add to the eggplant and mix well. Season generously with salt, add pepper to taste and more lemon juice if you like.

Step 6At serving time, spread the eggplant in a thick layer on a platter or plate. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, drizzle the center lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with pine nuts. Sprinkle the edges with parsley and serve.

Each of 8 servings:
150 calories; 52 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 4.86 grams fiber.
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