Hot Eggplant Puree

1 large eggplant
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch cumin (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
freshly chopped kuzbara or parsley
chopped tomatoes

1. Grill the eggplant over a flame until the skin blisters. The best method is to spear the vegetable on a long fork and hold it over a charcoal fire, thus flavoring the flesh delicately. But if this is not possible, you may toast it over the burner of your gas stove. Alternatively, bake the eggplant at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until soft.

2. In the bottom of a large bowl smash the garlic and salt with a wooden pestle. Add the eggplant and pound it into a puree.

3. Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir in the remaining ingredients. Add the pulp and sauté gently for about 10 minutes.

4. Turn into a serving platter. Garnish with parsley or coriander and tomato wedges, and serve immediately with Arabic bread.

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