Serve as an appetizer with toasted bread, or crudités. It is also good on baked or steamed potatoes, and on steamed or grilled fillets of fish, as well as with chicken breast.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups, enough for 8-10 people.
2-3 large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Aleppo or Maras pepper
3 large green bell peppers, seeded, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-2 jalapenos, coarsely chopped, to taste
1-2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups flat leaf parsley –stems reserved for broths and sauces
½ cup almonds (not skinned)
2 teaspoons sherry or good white wine vinegar, or more to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Thick yogurt (optional)
1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
Wash, dry the eggplants and rub with a little olive oil. Preheat the broiler.
Broil the whole eggplants, close to the heat source, turning occasionally; until the skins blacken on all sides, about 40 minutes total, to develop a smoky flavor.
For a more authentic smoky flavor grill on the barbeque or over a gas flame. If you have electric stove, heat ridged stovetop grill and place the eggplants on it, without rubbing with oil. Let the skin blacken on each side before you turn them. The eggplants should cook on all sides until soft, 20-30 minutes total.
Remove with tongs, slash in half and put upright in a colander placed over a bowl to drain.
When they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggplants and discard only the very large seeds. Discard the juices.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the green peppers and jalapenos, stirring often until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and remove from the heat.
Slice the garlic cloves and drop in the bowl of a food processor together with the drained eggplant flesh, the fried peppers with their oil, the parsley leaves, the almonds, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt.
Process, and if needed, scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, until the mixture becomes almost smooth.
If you like a more textured eggplant spread, process only the peppers and other ingredients in the blender, but use a food mill with the widest holes for the eggplants. Toss the eggplant and pepper mixture thoroughly in a bowl.
Whichever way you chose to prepare it, taste the spread and add more salt or vinegar, if you like. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It will be much more interesting when the flavors have time to meld.
The spread keeps for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
Transfer to a serving plate and if you like, add 1-2 tablespoons yogurt, stir and taste again to adjust the flavor. Sprinkle with sumac, if you like, and serve.