Eggplant Spread Celestine

from Gourmet, September, 1979

Halve two 1-pound eggplants length-wise, score the cut sides with a sharp knife, and sprinkle them with salt. Let the eggplant drain cut side down on a rack for 30 minutes and pat it dry with paper towels. In a large heavy skillet cook the eggplant halves in 1/2 cup olive oil over moderate heat, turning them, for 30 minutes, or until they are very soft and golden, and let them cool cut side down on the rack. Scoop out the flesh and in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the steel blade puree it with 1 small green pepper, chopped, 1/2 cup each of olive oil, minced onion, and minced parsley, 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and vinegar, or to taste, 1 tablespoon snipped dill, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 2 garlic cloves, minced, and salt and pepper to taste. While the motor is running add in a stream 1/2 cup heavy cream beaten with 1 egg yolk. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, fold in 1/2 cup each of peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato and peeled, seeded, and shopped cucumber, and sprinkle the mixture with snipped dill. Serve the mixture as a spread with crackers or pita.

Makes about 4 cups.

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