- 2 large eggplants, about 1 1/2 pounds each
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and cut lengthwise into slivers
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- Essence, recipe follows
- 1 lemon, cut into eighths
- Pita bread, cut into wedges and lightly toasted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Preheat a gas grill (or alternately an oven to 350 degrees F).
With a small, sharp knife, cut small slits into each eggplant.
Strip the leaves from the thyme sprigs, and chop. Discard the stems. Insert a sliver of garlic and a bit of chopped thyme into each slit in the eggplant. Rub olive oil onto the eggplants. Grill until black on a grill, turning frequently to ensure even roasting, about 15 minutes, or roast on an oiled baking sheet in the preheated oven, about 1 hour.
Remove from the heat. Slice eggplant lengthwise and when cool enough to handle, scoop the softened pulp into a bowl. Beat until creamy with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Essence to taste, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with lemon wedges and toasted pita triangles at the table.Essence:
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.