An Amazing Grilled Dip from the Middle East
Introducing Steven’s friend, California-based architect Marco Brambilla. Marco certainly comes by his passion for global grilling naturally: He was born in Iran of an Armenian mother and Italian father. He speaks 9! languages (and reads a few dead ones) and has worked as an architect throughout Europe, the Middle and Near East, Asia, and of course, the U.S. His grilling is as polyglot as his language skills.
True story: As a youngster, I would run to the neighbor’s yard when my dad lit our modest charcoal grill. His profligate use of lighter fluid, which ignited with a dramatic whoosh and looming tower of flame, scared me to death. Never did I imagine I would one day be working with Steven Raichlen, the master of live fire cooking. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned.
Steven is now a magnet for grill masters throughout the world, who are eager to share ethnic grilled or smoked recipes with him. One of the latest is from his friend Marco Brambillo (see above).
Marco’s beautiful photos of a Persian dip called Mirza Ghasemi, was compelling. A quick trip to the market was in order.
Invented in 1860 by a Persian ambassador, this dip takes advantage of the region’s produce, notably, eggplant, tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Eggs are scrambled in the mixture at the last minute, making this a hearty and Paleo-friendly appetizer. (You can also serve the mixture over rice for a complete meal.)
Here’s how you do it:
Preheat your charcoal grill or gas grill to 400 degrees. (If using a gas grill, add woodchips to your smoker box or use a foil smoker pouch.) Prick a large eggplant with a fork. Roast it directly on the coals until soft. Allow it to cool, then peel and coarsely chop. Set aside. On the grill’s side burner or on your stovetop, saute a chopped onion over medium heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. Stir in in 2 teaspoons of turmeric, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add the eggplant and two coarsely chopped tomatoes. Stir often. When the tomatoes have broken down, beat 2 large eggs. Stir into the mixture for or 1 to 2 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked. Serve with flatbread, lavash, or rice.
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