Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip
|Eggplants||2 1⁄2 Pound (1 large / 2 medium size)|
|Olive oil||6 Tablespoon|
|Finely chopped onion||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Finely chopped green bell pepper||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Garlic||1 Clove (5 gm), minced|
|Tomatoes||1 Pound, peeled, seeded and chopped (2 large size)|
|Salt||2 1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|Freshly ground black pepper||1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|Cayenne pepper||1⁄8 Teaspoon|
|Fresh lemon juice||2 Tablespoon|
|Cherry tomato halves||4 (for garnish)|
|Pita bread wedges||1 Cup (16 tbs) (for serving)|
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the eggplant on a rack over a baking sheet and set it in the center of the oven. Turning every 15 minutes, bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the skin is soft and wrinkled. Remove from the oven with the rack and set aside to cool.
2. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the pulp and then finely chop it with a knife or process it briefly in a food processor. Turn into a colander and let drain for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm 4 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and combine in a bowl with the eggplant. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
4. In a large skillet over moderate heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the eggplant mixture and bring it to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove the cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred with a spoon. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
6. To serve, turn the mixture into a bowl and decorate with the cherry tomato halves. Serve it with triangles of pita bread.