Sesame Eggplant

1 small eggplant (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided (see note)
1 large clove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons minced chives
dash lemon juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see note)
freshly ground white pepper
pita bread, cut into wedges and toasted

Cut off and discard top of eggplant. Cut eggplant lengthwise into 3 thick slices. Salt the cut sides. Set eggplant aside 30 minutes. With paper towel, wipe off bitter juices that accumulate. Cut slices into large cubes.

Heat together olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large skillet, preferably one with a non-stick surface. Add eggplant; sauté over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Add garlic.  Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until eggplant is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard garlic.

Press eggplant through food mill to roughly puree and peel (or place in food processor and keep small bits of skin in mixture).

Transfer eggplant to bowl. Add chives, lemon juice, remaining 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt and white pepper to taste. Serve eggplant with pita wedges as a spread or a dip.

Yield: 2 servings.

Note: Sesame oil is a cooking oil, not the Oriental flavoring. It is available in health food stores. Peanut oil or vegetable oil can be substituted.

To toast sesame seeds: Place seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet and cook over high heat, with no fat, about 3 minutes, or until seeds become very light brown. Watch carefully, because the seeds can quickly turn too dark. Immediately pour seeds out onto plate to cool.

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