When it comes to eggplant, size doesn't matter, only age, firmness, and freshness. Some eggplants are as tiny as your thumb, and some are as long as your arm. Just spend some time in the vegetable market in the Turkish town of Izmir and you'll see an assortment of eggplants that will boggle your mind.
To make this delightful dip, 1 grill eggplants very slowly to achieve a deep, smoky aroma. Depending on the weather, 1 grill either on a V-shaped roasting rack over a gas burner or slowly over coals outdoors.
While many Turkish cooks blend eggplant with yogurt, the lushest creamiest texture comes by blending in lor, a local ricotta. In northern Greece, a similar salad is made by blending the eggplant with feta and mayonnaise.
Just before serving, scatter fresh chopped walnuts on top for a pleasing rush of crunch. Serve with pita crisps.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.