grill the eggplants, turning often for even cooking. When charred all
over and very soft, 15-20 minutes, place them in a dinner tray until
cool enough to handle. Carefully remove skin and put the eggplant pulp
in a strainer so the bitter juices will drain away; drain for about
12-15 minutes. Put the vegetable stock and garlic in a small sauté pan
and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Put the drained eggplant
pulp in a food processor and pulse just enough to achieve a rough puree.
Add the garlic and the rest of the ingredients except the celery. Pulse
quickly to combine. Adjust seasoning. If you are using the celery, fold
it in at the end. Serve warm accompanied by steamed rice or at room
temperature as a dip with bread or lavish.
Traditionally, this tangy puree is
accented with chopped walnuts. If you want crunch, add the chopped
celery instead. Simmering the garlic takes the harshness away while it
leaves the great flavor.