Charred Aubergine Dip

This simple, summery dip was inspired by an appetizer I had at one of Michael Symon's beloved Cleveland establishments, Lolita. Despite being a Cleveland native, I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me until this past July to eat at one of Chef Symon's restaurants. My wait was certainly sucker-punched by his incredible fare, which both laughed at me for not indulging sooner and delighted me with creativity that one would only expect from the reputable Iron Chef. Among the (many) starters we tried, the charred eggplant dip was a family fave, with its addictive synchronization of eggplant, cumin, caraway, lemon and feta (not to mention the warm homemade flatbread that flanked the bowl). It's not complicated, nor overly flashy, rather, it's a dish that is rooted in the fact that every ingredient has a distinct voice. It belts a smoky, spiced, seedy, tangy, creamy anthem with such harmony that your pita-plunging will go on autopilot. (You might want to make a double-batch...especially if you're planning to share.) 

[Inspired by Michael Symon's Charred Eggplant Dip]

2 large aubergine (eggplant)
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
Caraway seeds
Black pepper
Feta, crumbled

Place an oven rack about 4 inches below the heating element and turn on the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease it lightly with olive oil.

Trim stem ends of 2 large aubergine and cut them in half lengthwise. Place on the baking sheet, cut side down. Broil until the skin is charred and the flesh is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to cool and drain.

Drizzle 4 garlic cloves with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place them on the same baking sheet and broil until fragrant and soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Unwrap and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, use a spoon to scrape the eggplant flesh from its skin. Drain excess water, then transfer flesh to a food processor. When garlic is cool enough to handle, peel and add to the food processor, along with lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and a pinch cayenne. Blend to smooth, then season with salt and black pepper. Fold in crumbled feta and caraway seeds, taste, and adjust measurements as needed. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, more caraway seeds sprinkled over top, and pita chips on the side.

To make pita chips: Cut several pita rounds into 8 wedges (or eights, if they're large), and brush each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with caraway seeds, black pepper, and a drizzle of honey, if you like. Arrange on a toaster oven baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and toast at 400dgF until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.


  1. This is a must try for me, I love eggplant dips, but sometimes they can be so bland. The caraway seeds are a brilliant addition!

  2. This sounds amazing--a perfect use for the piles of eggplant filling up the farmer's market! I also think the caraway seeds sound super interesting. I would never have thought to use them!

  3. yum ! great way to add some flavour to an eggplant dip!


  4. OOooh! Love the idea of drizzling a little honey! Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Also try Michael Symon's other restaurant in Cleveland, Lola. It's amazing!

  6. I love the simplicity and freshness of all your recipes. Eggplant holds a special place in my heart, and this is getting done as soon as I can get my hands on some. Thanks for sharing!