This story has a happy ending for barbecue extraordinaire Steven Raichlen has shown me the way. I was tuned into this show, Primal Grill, the other morning and there he was giving me step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the elusive smokiness. It's a genius, easy trick really: the whole eggplant is placed directly on top of fiery embers in the bottom of a grill. We made it ourselves and it was easy as can be. In about 15 minutes, The Chef brought in charred, softened eggplants, mixed the pulp with tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil and whipped it altogether in the food processor. Pure smoky goodness!
I can say that in the years when we participated in a CSA, I was always a little worried about how to tackle the eating of the eggplant when they would appear in our farm share boxes. The truth of the matter is, I don't exactly LOVE eggplant. I want to, I really do. As an on-the-fence eggplant eater, I would be surprised if anyone didn't enjoy this recipe.
We followed Mr. Raichlen's directions to a tee and found that getting the perfect mix of ingredients is a matter of taste--we added a little more tahini and lemon juice to suit our preference and sprinkled the spread with pimenton (smoked paprika) instead of hot paprika as specified. I found that an additional squeeze of fresh lemon juice truly added just the right astringency so absolutely serve it with lemon wedges.