Smoky, Fire-Roasted Eggplant Dip
By Chef Heidi Allison

Ingredients 

1 large Eggplant 
1 clove Organic Garlic minced 
2 tablespoons Organic Lemon juice freshly squeezed 
1/2 teaspoon Morton's Kosher Salt 
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1 tablespoon Kefir Cheese or Crèma Mexicana Agria (optional) 

Directions 

Place the eggplant directly on the trivet of a gas stove, and turn the heat on the highest setting. Leave the eggplant on the trivet till it starts to blister and blacken, and the flesh feels a little soft (about 5 minutes). 

With tongs, flip the eggplant on the bottom side and grill till the skin blisters (about 4 minutes). Turn the eggplant on its left side till it blisters, then rotate to the right side till it blisters. With tongs, remove the eggplant and place it on a 10-inch plate to cool. Once the eggplant is cool enough to touch, pour the eggplant juice into a cup and save. 

Peel off the blackened skin with your fingers, and remove some of the seeds with a fork. Place the eggplant and eggplant juice into a large mixing bowl. 

Add garlic, salt and lemon juice. Lightly mash the eggplant with the back of a fork. Add the olive oil and continue to whip until the eggplant mixture if fluffy-- about 1 minute. 

Fold in the Kefir cheese (a very thick, and rich , Middle-Eastern yogurt) or 
Crèma Mexicana (a Mexican-style sour cream ). Refrigerate for several hours till cold. 

From the Author Heidi Allison:

A rich, smoky flavor that can only be achieved with fire! Although this recipe will be a bit messy--it’s worth it! Trust me, there really is no short-cut if you want that hauntingly-good, smoky taste sans doing the eggplants on the cue. (So… don’t even attempt this recipe with a broiler—I’ve tied it, and, it doesn’t work.) Also, it’s crucial that you save the eggplant juice that collects on the bottom of the plate as it cools—it further enhances that great smoky flavor! If you omit the Mexican Crema or Kefir cheese, use 2 tablespoons (rather than 1 tablespoon) of olive oil. This dish is great served with pita bread or warm tortillas.