Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating! One of my family's favorite treats is to have Charcuterie for dinner on special occasions So, I buy an assortment of cured meats and cheeses and a variety of crackers. Then I make some spreads and dips with as many vegetables in them as I can, so that it becomes a healthy meal. I usually chop up some Tomatoes to make Bruschetta and today I decided to add a Roasted Eggplant spread full of colorful Roasted Peppers along with lots of Garlic and Red Onion, also Roasted. I roasted the Eggplants separately so that they would get good and soft and also so the onions wouldn't burn. Then, when it is time to add them, I pureed the Eggplant first before adding the other vegetables. Eggplant when it is roasted is so creamy that I don't think it needs any yogurt or sour cream or even Tahini. I just add some ground Cumin and some lemon juice to give it a vaguely Middle Eastern flavor and it turned out to be delicious! It's important to make this spread ahead of time so that the flavors can develop. And it would also be good to bring to a Potluck!
Roasted Eggplant Spread
2 Medium Eggplants, stem end removed and cut into chunks
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow or Orange Pepper, stem end and seeds removed, cut into small pieces
1 medium Red Pepper, stem end and seeds removed, cut into small pieces
6 - 8 garlic cloves
2 additional Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 scant teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
Juice of 1 small Lemon
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put Eggplant pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with the Olive Oil and half the salt. Place in the oven and cook for 40 - 45 minutes. Turn occasionally.
Put the Peppers, Onion and Garlic onto another baking sheet and drizzle with the additional 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, tossing the vegetables every 10 minutes so that they don't stick to the pan.
Using a Food Processor, add the Eggplant, Lemon Juice, Cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of Salt and Cayenne Pepper. Puree. Then add the Peppers, Onion and Garlic and mix in, processing for a very short time. If you don't have a Food Processor, mash the Eggplant with a fork and then add in the other vegetables, but cut them smaller before you roast them. Serve with Crackers
Five Element Analysis
Eggplant belongs to the Water Element. The Peppers bring in the Fire Element. The Olive Oil and Lemon Juice contribute the Wood Element and the Garlic, Onion and Cumin add the Metal Element. Because the onions caramelizes, it adds a bit of the Earth Element. So, I served this spread with Almond Rice Crackers as Almonds belong to the Earth Element so that it created a Five Element balance just with this one dish!