Roasted Eggplant Dip

eggplant

Ingredients

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 medium leek, light green and white part only, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds eggplant, (about 2 1½ pound eggplants) peeled and coarsely chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • For the garnish:
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (Italian plum), peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the Pita Toasts
  • 2 pita breads, plain or sesame
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 to 6 whole basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 400F.
  2. Lightly spray a large roasting pan and combine the leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the eggplant to the roasting pan and toss with tongs to coat.
  3. Place the eggplant mixture in the oven and roast for about 1 to 1¼ hours or until very soft, tossing the eggplant with a large spoon every 15 minutes so it will cook evenly.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the relish: combine the tomatoes, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper and mix to combine. Taste for seasoning and reserve.
  5. Remove the eggplant mixture from the oven and cool. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar, basil, thyme and capers and mix well. Taste for seasoning.
  6. To make the pitas toasts, preheat a broiler. Split each pita in half, and then cut each half into 8 triangles. Brush the top of each triangle with oil and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Working in batches, spread the triangles on a baking sheet and toast in the broiler until brown and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Repeat with the remaining pita triangles.
  7. Mound the eggplant dip into a serving dish. Garnish with the tomatoes and whole basil leaves. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with Crispy Pita Toasts.

Tips

  • Make sure to select firm, unblemished heavy eggplants for best flavor.
  • Pitted Greek olives could also be added to the dip if you like.
  • This is also good as a spread on lavash topped with peeled roasted peppers and basil leaves.
  • To accompany the dip I like to serve glasses of chilled Prosecco topped off with a touch of peach nectar and a thinly sliced peach.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

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