Balkan Grilled Eggplant and Red Pepper Dip
Scads of grilled red peppers give this dip, also known as ajvar (pronounced eye-var), a bright, reddish-orange hue.
- 4 globe or Asian eggplants (2 lb.)
- 5 red bell peppers (2 lb.)
- 2 red Fresno or red jalapeño chiles, optional
- 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided (2 tsp.)
- Chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
- Black cured olives, for garnish, optional
1. Prepare grill with medium-hot coals, or preheat broiler. Prick each eggplant 6 times with fork. Grill eggplants 40 minutes or broil 30 minutes, or until skins blacken and eggplants look collapsed. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Grill or broil bell peppers 15 minutes, or until skins are blackened and blistered all over, turning every 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and cover tightly.
3. Grill or broil chiles (if using) 3 minutes, or until most of skins blacken. Transfer to bowl, and cover tightly.
4. Halve eggplants, and scoop out flesh, removing and discarding caps, seeds, and skins. Chop remaining eggplant flesh. (You should have about 2 cups.)
5. Peel, halve, and chop bell peppers and chiles, discarding caps and seeds. 6. Stir together chopped eggplant flesh, bell peppers, and 2 tsp. chiles in bowl. Add vinegar, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Let stand 1 hour for flavors to meld. Serve drizzled with oil and garnished with chopped parsley and olives (if using).
July/August 2013 p.76