Grilled Eggplant Spread (version II)

4 pounds medium eggplants
1 small red onion
2 large garlic cloves
2/3 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Accompaniment:
Pita toasts

Pierce eggplants in several places with a fork and grill on a rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, turning them occasionally, until very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. (Alternatively, broil eggplants under a preheated broiler about 6 inches from heat 30 to 40 minutes. Broiled eggplant will not have a smoky flavor.) Transfer eggplants to a colander and when cool enough to handle, quarter lengthwise. With a small knife remove and discard as many seeds as possible. Scrape flesh into a large sieve set over a bowl, discarding skin. Drain eggplant, covered and chilled, 1 day. Discard any juices from eggplant.

Mince onion and garlic and finely chop parsley. In a food processor pulse eggplant with onion, garlic, parsley, and remaining ingredients until coarsely pureed. Transfer spread to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Chill spread, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

Serve spread with pita toasts.

Yield: about 3 cups



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