Roasted Eggplant With Preserved Lemon

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Take :

2 large unpeeled Italian eggplants (about 2 lbs), sliced in half, stem end trimmed.

Rub eggplants with olive oil and place in a large roasting pan, large enough that the halves do not touch.

Roast @ 425° for 15 minutes, then remove. Puncture each piece with a fork or knife.

Allow to cool.

Seperate the skin from the cooked pulp of the eggplant, reserve the skin for another use.

Mash the eggplant pulp to desired consistency, or puree if need be.

Add :

1/4-1/2 cup of preserved lemon, preferably homemade

*I would add 1/4 cup, combine, taste, and then add more as desired.

1 tsp or more of cumin, preferably freshly toasted and ground.

Salt to taste.

Allow to sit overnight.

Before serving, allow to come to room temperature.

Then add extra olive oil, if desired.

Before serving, garnish with :

Pinches of dried ground sumac or paprika.

Excellent served as part of many meze or appetizer dishes. Perfect with flatbreads of all kinds, but also makes an excellent dip for raw vegetables such as celery, carrot and parsnip. One could of course add many other ingredients to this before overwhelming the taste of the eggplant and preserved lemon. In addition to other spices or herbs, yogurt could be added, especially if one is looking for a creamier dish. I prefer to leave this one chunky, and scoop up big swathes of it in celery boats. Ah, to each their own.

KEY : The key fact to remember with this dish it so serve it at room temperature.

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