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Persian Eggplant and Walnut Dip

Persian Eggplant and Walnut Dip

Persians use a lot of eggplant in their cuisine and this eggplant walnut dip is perfect for a crowd as you can make it ahead and it will last for days. I love any type of dip that can be served with crackers, cut up vegetables or even as a spread for a sandwich. I often add more herbs to this dip such as flat leaf or parsley or cilantro. I recommend walnuts but almonds, pistachios or even pine nuts can be used instead. Be sure to toast the nuts before blending as it really brings out the flavor. I love the smaller thin eggplants if you can find them as they have less seeds.

Ingredients

3 Japanese eggplants

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 Tb. chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt to taste

4 pita breads halved, cut into triangles

olive oil for drizzling

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.  Puncture the skin of the eggplants in several places with a fork. Place on baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, turning, until the skin is blistered and shriveled. Remove eggplants from the oven and cool for a few minutes, until easy to handle.

2. Meanwhile, pulse the garlic, walnuts, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a food processor until ground.

3. Cut off the stem and cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the pulp, discarding as many of the seeds as possible. Add the eggplant, a little at a time, to the bowl of the food processor and pulse on and off. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining olive oil and pulse until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a medium serving bowl.

4. Place the pita triangles on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil bake until golden about 8 minutes.

5. Serve the warm pita toasts with the dip.

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