This dip (pronounced bah-bah-gah-NOOSH) gets wonderful smoky flavor from two sources--grilled eggplant and smoked paprika. Look for smoked paprika at specialty food stores or spice stores. It's one of those secret ingredients that turns an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one. Of course, you can make it with regular paprika, but you won't have the same smoky essence. This dip is best made ahead, as the flavors tend to mellow.
Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
1 medium eggplant, cut in half lengthwise (about 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pitted kalamata olives, halved
How to Make It
Spray cut sides of eggplant with cooking spray. Grill eggplant, skin side down, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 10 minutes. Turn eggplant halves over, and grill 4 minutes or until flesh is nicely browned and tender. Remove from grill, and let stand 20 minutes or until cool to the touch.
Scoop pulp from eggplant halves into a large wire-mesh strainer; let drain 20 minutes. Combine drained pulp, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and next 6 ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.
To serve, transfer dip to a serving bowl; drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with smoked paprika and olives. Serve with pita chips.