Friday, July 29, 2011

Spicy Eggplant Spread

1/2 c plus 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 eggplant, each about 12 oz., peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a 4-quart deep sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add half of the eggplant and sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the remaining eggplant. Transfer to the platter.

  2. Warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in the pan. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes and cumin until blended and return the eggplant to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is very tender and almost mushy, 6 to 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

  3. Transfer the eggplant mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley, lemon juice and the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
I made this as a dip for a party over Memorial Day weekend and I'm very glad that I made a lot extra. It was very good the night I made it, but it was even better a few days later, cold spread over crackers. I recently made it and spread it over crusty bread along with Parmesan cheese to make into a panini. It is very, very good.

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