Melitzana

4 eggplants, halved lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
2 shallots, finely chopped

Using large fork or tongs, hold eggplants over gas flame until blistered and black all over, about 10 minutes, or place under broiler. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer eggplants to large roasting pan and finish cooking in oven until flesh is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove eggplants from oven and cool.

When cool enough to handle, peel eggplants and discard charred skin (don't worry if a few pieces remain). Place eggplant flesh in fine sieve lined with cheesecloth over work bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight to drain.

When eggplant has drained, bring 4 corners of cheesecloth together and gently squeeze out any remaining moisture from eggplant.

In food processor, puree eggplant flesh with garlic until very smooth, scraping down sides of bowls as necessary. With motor running, add olive oil in thin, steady stream, then add yogurt. Stir in salt, pepper, vinegar, dill and shallots.

Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve (can be prepared up to 2 days in advance).



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