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Handsome and a good cook. Both things I aspire to!

Serves: 8 as part of a share platter

Bobby Flay isn’t a household name in Australia though the reverse is true in America where he is a superstar of cooking.

I first heard about him on Iron Chef America and despite his good looks and cool swagger, this is not a man you want to challenge in the kitchen. From memory, he never lost a challenge.

Anyway, this is his eggplant dip and whilst there is a little effort to it, it has a subtle, sophisticated and really fine flavour to it. I grilled some Turkish bread brushed will olive oil and served that with the dip and that Oliver had five in quick succession tells you volumes.

Impress your mates and serve this up fresh next time they’re around. Better still if you have good looks and cool swagger.

P.S. I didn’t oil the vegetables to cut down on calories and I saw no downside. Except less calories! Oh, and really do try to serve this fresh or if refrigerated, allow time to come back to room temperature and give a good stir to combine.

Ingredients

1 red pepper (capsicum)
¼ c canola oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large or 2 medium eggplant, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise, 2cm thick
2 cloves garlic
¼ c tahini
¼ c Greek (fat-free) yoghurt
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped, fresh oregano
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
¼ c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Pita breads or Turkish breads, brushed with olive oil, heated on the grill to serve

Method

  1. Heat a grill to medium. Brush the red pepper with some of the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with more of the canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill the eggplant until charred on the first side; around 3 minutes. Turn and continue grilling until tender; around 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a chopping board.
  3. Grill the red pepper, turning occasionally until charred all over and tender; around 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with cling wrap and let steam while you make the eggplant puree.
  4. Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle them with salt and mash and smear them to a paste using the side of a knife.
  5. Remove the skin from the eggplant and transfer the flesh to a food processor. Add garlic paste, tahini, yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the lemon zest, oregano and smoked paprika. Process until smooth and thick. Add salt to taste and transfer to a serving bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
  6. Peel, seed and dice the red pepper.
  7. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the dip (I gave this a miss), top with the diced peppers and chopped parsley and serve with the warm pita, lavash or grilled Turkish bread.

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