Taltsenes (Roasted Peppers, Eggplant, and Tomato Dip)

The Greek word taltsenes refers to pounding or mashing with a mortar and pestle. This richly flavorful dish should be served with crusty breads and salty cheeses.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 1 hour 35 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 6


  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 medium Italian eggplants or 4 long Japanese eggplants
  • 2 medium-size red shepherd peppers
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Preheat the gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Wrap the tomato in foil. Pierce the skins of the eggplants a few times with a knife. Place the eggplants, peppers, and tomato on grill. Cook the eggplants for 20–30 minutes or until the skin is completely charred and the inside is soft. Grill the peppers until they are charred on all sides. Grill the tomato in foil for 20 minutes.
  • Place the charred peppers in a medium bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to cool for 15 minutes. Using your hands, remove the charred skins and discard them. Slit the peppers in half; remove and discard the seeds and stem. Chop the peppers.
  • Let the eggplants cool for 10 minutes. Cut open each eggplant lengthwise and scoop out the softened flesh, discarding the charred skin. Peel and discard the skin off the tomato and chop the flesh.
  • In a mortar, add ½ teaspoon salt and the garlic. Pound the garlic into a mash with the pestle. Using the pestle, blend in the eggplant flesh and vinegar. Blend in the peppers. Blend in the tomato. The mixture should not be completely smooth.
  • Stir the oil in slowly and continue to blend until it’s well incorporated. Season the dip with the remaining salt and serve at room temperature.