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roasted eggplant & olive oil

if you have an abundance of eggplants this is a lovely recipe.  any variety will work, though it is worthy to note that the long japanese varieties will cook quickly and yield a smaller amount of meat.  a nice olive oil (one of our favorites) and celtic sea salt really shine as their flavors add beauty to this simple dish.  it is welcome as a mezze when good bread is served, packs well for a picnic, and makes an easy addition to ground meat dishes.  we hope you enjoy!

2-4 eggplants
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
celtic sea salt
1-3 lemon wedges
nice olive oil


Begin by spearing each eggplant with a sharp knife a few times to keep them from exploding while cooking.  trim the stems off and place the eggplants on a pan under the broiler in your oven or on a bbq grill.  roast and turn until all sides of the eggplant are well charred and it is soft to touch.  place the blasting hot eggplant in a bowl or pot and cover well for 15 to 20 minutes until cool enough to touch. 

Remove the skins and the top portion of the eggplant (where it used to attach to the stem) and place them in a colander to drain.  gently press out the syrupy juices from the eggplant and pull it apart into pieces.  add the strained chopped eggplant to a bowl, add a few large pinches of sea salt, the juice from half a lemon, minced garlic and a few drizzles of olive oil.  mix well.  taste and adjust seasonings.  you'll want the eggplant to be moist but not dripping with the olive oil before adding it to a mason jar leaving about 1/2" of head-space (open space between the top of the eggplant and the rim of the jar).  cover with a layer of olive oil and refrigerate.  allow 4 days to a week for the flavors to mellow.  the eggplant is best served at room temperature.
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