As always, such gorgeous photos and lovely, escapist prose to go with them. Thank you! I have a slight fear of eggplant, since they’re sort of spongy creatures. But I have been meaning to tackle them and this is a perfect way to do it!
Oh, how I love Oleana!! My sister gave me the cookbook, so this dip is a must-make for me. Be sure to try the spicy fideos with chickpeas, vanilla, and saffron (to be honest, I made this because the ingredient list wasn’t quite as overwhelming as the others–delicious!). Next time you’re in Cambridge, check out Ana Sortun’s Soffra Bakery–the shakshuka is tops! I’d love if you’d post more Spice recipes you’ve made… :)
Hi Clarissa- the Spice House definitely carries smoked salt, though I’m guessing you’d find it at other gourmet shops. Urfa/isot pepper is more difficult to track down, though readily available online. I bought mine from Lezzet spices at Dose market. They sell online.
Soffra Bakery was perfect, one of my favorite breakfast experiences. Yes the Shakshuka was one of the best I’ve had-ever. Unique pastries and an interesting selection of oils and mediterranean spices. I had so much fun there I even got extra stuff for a picnic for the train ride back home.
I will try this eggplant recipe, I’m a fan of smoky with my eggplant.
Long time reader and viewer of your blog, absolutely stunning. I absolutely agree with you about Oleana. My best friend lives in Boston and I go to visit about once a year. Last fall we went to Oleana for my last night in town and it just blew us both away. The space is fantastic, the hospitality divine and the food just flows and comes out. So much flavor and lovely presentation. We both still talk about it 9 months later. I’ll be back on my next trip. I also bought the cookbook and it’s so fantastic.
On a note, if you’re back in Boston again, make sure to check out Bondir. That was our 2nd favorite place to eat.
This looks fantastic! But I’ve got a question about the urfa peppers, or pepper… do you buy these as dried or fresh peppers? I’m guessing dried since you said you ordered them online. If so are they whole? or crushed? or ground? Very curious – I’ve never heard of these peppers!
Isot pepper! I got mine from Lezzet at Dose Market as well. Isn’t it the best stuff? It’s all leather and tobacco and spice in flavor, and it’s just incredible with eggplant. Have you tried this recipe with roasted or broiled-till-black eggplant, to really boost the smokiness?
This looks wonderful! My husband has a severe sesame allergy, so this would be a perfect baba ganoush substitute. I will be eyeing the eggplant in our garden with even more anticipation now. Also, I stock up on Urfa and various other Turkish peppers/spices every time I am back in NYC at Kalustyan’s. Maybe they do mail order?
I’ve just discovered your site through Saveur (congrats on the award)! I’ve really enjoyed perusing your recipes — this one looks incredibly delicious! The images are beautiful, too — I love the way the olive oil rests on top of the purée. Lovely.
I just came across your blog by happenstance and love it. How ironic that you have this recipe from Ana’s cookbook. Oleana is one of my favorite restaurants of all time! In fact, it is largely why my husband and I traveled to Turkey this past May. (Cannot say enough about what an experience that was!) So, to make a long story shot, I DO have urfa pepper–straight from the town of Gaziantep from whence it comes. I actually blogged about Turkey, and peppers, and baklava on my blog: relocationtheblog.blogspot.com Now, I am running to make this eggplant dish!
I just made this and it is really delicious. The texture of the purée is a bit loose – I wasn’t sure how much water to extract from the eggplant after boiling. The pieces were still pretty waterlogged when I put them in the food processor and dripped liquid when I squeezed them with tongs.. But despite being a bit on the runny side, the flavors are beautiful. Thanks for another great recipe.
I’m curious to see how other people handled the boiling aspect. I’m suspicious of this as a cooking technique for eggplant, since they’re basically little sponges anyhow. Are we meant to squeeze out the water afterward? Why not roast it instead?
Portia- Are you a conspiracy theorist? (just kidding!) Roasting will totally work. I found the boiling to be easier and faster. Also, you want some of that moisture. I drained them in a colander for a few minutes and they were totally fine and not water-logged. If you roast and the mixture seems a little dry, just throw in a splash of water.
I made this last week and can confirm that it really is delicious (and so easy!). I couldn’t get my hands on urfa pepper last minute so used smoked pimenton (to taste) instead. And like a couple of other commenters, I was for some reason skeptical about boiling the eggplant but was glad I followed the recipe in this regard — the dip was *so* creamy, in part, I think, because of the moisture from boiling.
I have the great fortune of living around the corner from Oleana…needless to say, I eat there whenever possible! I love this recipe and substituted toasted walnuts for the pinenuts and it was also fab.
I just made this last night for my husband and a friend. The quest for Urfa peppers was totally worth it; we all agreed this was one of the loveliest dips we ever had. Thank you so much for posting! (I LOVE your blog by the way).
I just made a batch of this and it’s silky smooth and bright tasting and crazy delicious. But it was so much easier than any other eggplant dip recipe I have attempted that I am retroactively angry about wasting all that time ;)