Moutabal ~ Roasted Eggplant, Yogurt, and Tahini Dip
Moutabal is usually served cold, as part of a mezze spread, though I harbor a secret preference for the more pronounced flavors of moutabal served warm.
If using an open flame, gas burner, or grill,use a fork to poke a few holes in the eggplant. Roast the eggplant over the flame, using tongs to turn occasionally, until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the eggplant cool until easy to handle, about 20 minutes.If using the oven method, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Use a fork to poke a few holes in the eggplant. Roast the eggplant until slightly charred and the flesh is tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let the eggplant cool until easy to handle, about 20 minutes. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin, and transfer it to a bowl or food processor. Using a fork or the food processor, mash or puree it until mostly smooth.
Add the tahini, yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice to the mashed eggplant and blend well. Season with salt to taste.
Spoon the dip into a bowl and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve with pita, crackers, or crudité.
*What is tahini?
If you’ve had hummus, you’ve had tahini. But unless you’re making hummus, or other Middle Eastern foods from scratch, you might not know what it really is. Tahini is a rich, thickly unctuous, nutty-tasting spread made from ground sesame seeds mixed with oil (usually a mixture of olive and sesame).
Most tahini is made from toasted seeds, giving it a deeper and richer flavor but “raw” is also available. The sesame seeds can be hulled or unhulled—unhulled sesame seeds are a little bitter but they do have a higher nutritional value.