Eggplant and Pepper Dip with Yogurt, Garlic and Walnuts

(2 votes)

2 small globe eggplants (a little less than 3/4 pound each)
juice of 1 lemon
1 small green bell pepper
1 or 2 fresh green chiles, such as jalapeño, cored, seeded, and minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar; more as needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Light a grill fire. Grill the eggplant over the open fire or gas flame, turning them frequently, until the skins are black and parched and the flesh feels soft when pierced with a fork, about 10 min. When cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin and put the flesh in a colander. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and let stand for 10 min.

Meanwhile, grill the bell pepper until it's soft and blackened on all sides, about 15 min. Seal the pepper in a paper bag for about 15 min. to cool, and peel when cool. Remove the seeds; peel and chop the flesh. Gently squeeze the liquid from the eggplant and transfer the pulp to a mortar or a food processor, along with the bell pepper and chiles. Grind or pulse to a coarse purée. Stir in the garlic, yogurt, walnuts, vinegar, and olive oil; taste and add salt and more vinegar if you like.

Mound in a serving bowl and let stand at room temperature for several hours. Garnish with minced parsley, if you like, and serve at room temperature with crusty bread, pita triangles, or crackers.

Yields 3 cups.

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