Recently I tried a recipe billed as a pureed eggplant salad. It was very well received but I thought it needed work – the recipe contained bread, which gave the end product an odd texture and I thought dulled the flavours too much. It also called for some raw and some cooked vegetables. For the FC version I ended up roasting all the vegetables and getting rid of the bread, and the result was a very creamy and rich tasting dip brightened with roasted red pepper and tangy pieces of tomato. A slow grill would be fantastic for preparing the vegetables too; the idea is to roast as much moisture as possible out of them while concentrating their flavour.
Take two whole Asian or one split medium Italian eggplant, two whole medium tomatoes, and one large or two small whole red peppers and roast for 30 to 40 minutes in a medium oven until vegetables are soft and blackened. Meanwhile, chop two cloves of raw garlic and blend with 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and ½ tsp of salt til garlic is completely pureed. Scrape the roasted eggplant out of its skin and add to blender; blend until creamy. Remove the skins from the peppers and dice finely; finely dice tomato as well. (My tomatoes and peppers still had quite a bit of moisture so I reduced them in a thick bottomed pan before stirring into the eggplant.) Add chopped peppers and tomatoes to eggplant and stir to distribute evenly. Let sit at least a couple of hours; best next day. Taste for flavour balance before serving. My batch made slightly more than one cup of dip.
The dip is really good with raw vegetables or with bread. Shown is Xinjiang nan bread, which costs 1-2 yuan (15-30 cents) for an eight to twelve inch round and makes pretty good pizza crust. Xinjiang (the Uighur Autonomous Region) is a northwestern province and home to one of the most trendy regional Chinese cuisines. Xinjiang food, like Tibetan food, is easy to find in