You'll have to forgive my lack of "in-progress" pictures on this one, people. Frankly, it was not a recipe I intended to blog because it wasn't a recipe I intended to be all that fantastic. In fact, it's not really a, ahem, recipe at all. It's more of a, how shall we say... a "chuck-it-all-in-the-food-processor-'cause-I'm-moving-and-I've-gotta-use-it-up"-ipe. Aren't those always the best, though? (Ok, ok... not always... once in a rare while, though! Same thing!) Either way - this recipe is quick, easy, filling and, above all, addictively delicious.
2 small eggplants
(1 medium to large-ish eggplant would do just as well)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
(or, hey, throw full cloves in there... it's all getting processed in the end)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
1. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Place, flesh side down, in a baking pan. Drizzle with half of the olive oil. Roast in a 350 degree oven for approx. 45 minutes. Throw it on broil for a minute or two at the end to get the skins really nice and blistered.
2. Let eggplant cool for a few moments, then dump them in your food processor (I imagine a blender would work just as well), skins and all. Let's be honest, I'm just lazy and don't feel like scooping the flesh out, but you can if you want! But, do it my way, and there will be nice little flecks of deep purple all throughout your dip... a nice visual, I think, not to mention the extra nutrients you're packing in there. (Eggplant skin MUST contain some vital nutrient, right? But hey, I'm no health science major, don't ask me which one that would be...)
3. Add the cheese, rest of olive oil, and other above condiments to processor. Feel free to add more or less of any to taste (for example, I LOVE garlic... you, being a normal person and presumably less garlic crazy than I, may want to tone it down a notch...), but DO be careful with the balsamic. I found that just a few quick splashes really deepened the flavor here, but any more than that, well, just add slowly and taste as you go.
4. Process until smooth-ish, scoop out, and serve warm. It's just like spinach artichoke dip, except without the spinach and the artichokes, and, I happen to think, better. Yeah, I said it. Better than spinach artichoke dip, which is pretty much the god of all delicious appetizer-y foods. The eggplant is surprisingly creamy and the roasted flavor is quite rich and nutty.
Serve with whole wheat crackers if you have them on hand, OR do as I did and quickly toast up some tortillas, sliced in triangles, and sprinkled with a little salt, pepper, and basil, in the oven while your dip is processing.
Cheers! Time to run before I get kicked out of the library...