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Smoky Eggplant

Adapted from Quilty’s, New York
Time: 30 minutes

2 medium eggplants
Vegetable oil, for coating
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. Rub eggplants with vegetable oil. Place directly on a hot grill or over a gas flame (this may be done on top of the stove). Char skin well on all sides, turning eggplant with tongs. Continue until eggplant is blackened and collapsed, about 20 minutes. (Eggplant may leak a small amount of liquid.) Transfer to a platter and allow to cool slightly.

2. When eggplants are cool enough to touch, peel them, removing as many seeds as possible. Place pulp in a fine sieve and drain, pressing it lightly to remove juices.

3. Transfer pulp to a blender, and add tahini, cumin and lemon juice. Puree, adding olive oil in a steady stream while blender is running. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature as a spread or on a plate under grilled meat or seafood.

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups.

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