Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Spread

Every summer one of my best friends and her family hold a great big celebration in their backyard with lots of delicious food, drinks, and, of course, great company! I look forward to their parties every year because, for one, this family sure knows how to party, and secondly, it is always filled with an amazing group of people. My friend and her family have the amazing ability to make everyone feel welcome and at home, and, in turn, it has attracted a large array of spectacular individuals within their circle of friends. This years party was no different. Despite the rain, the party was still a huge success! Everyone was eating, drinking, dancing, and laughing well into the night! In fact, I live one street down from them and could hear the fun of the party from my bedroom window, long after I was party pooped and had retired home.

This year I wanted to contribute to the festivities by bringing a dish that I had prepared. I had seen The Barefoot Contessa's (AKA: my future best friend!) recipe for Roasted Eggplant Spread a while ago and have been dying to make it! I figured this would be the perfect opportunity, as it is a great dish for feeding a large crowd. The dip is so simple to make, yet still extremely flavourful and hearty tasting. It was definitely a hit at the party, and in my house (it was so good, I had to leave a bowl of it at home for my family to nibble on). Because I am so obsessed with fresh herbs, I added a generous amount of fresh oregano to the spread to brighten up the flavours. I also adjusted some of the amounts of the ingredients to make it better suited for entertaining a crowd. Keep your eyes open for more ways of serving this spread because I have quite a few interesting ideas up my sleeve (or apron!) for this one!

5 mini eggplants (or 2 large)
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season

1. Preheat the oven to 400ยบ F.

2. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a roasting dish with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Spread the vegetables evenly on the roasting dish and roast for 45 minutes, until vegetables are lightly brown and soft. Toss once during cooking.

4. Let vegetables cool slightly and pour them into a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the tomato paste and oregano and pulse to blend. Continue pulsing until it reaches the desired consistency (you may prefer yours more chunky or smooth). Season with salt and pepper. Serve with pieces of fresh pita bread.


Anonymous said...

I love summer parties like that--sounds like such a great time!

Justin said...

now i'm wishing it wasn't so hot here, because this sounds yummy but turning the oven up to 400 degrees would be too much for my small kitchen in the summer

Creative Classroom Core said...

How perfect for summer entertaining! Sounds lovely!

Mango Gal said...

This looks so yummy! I'm definetly going to give it a try.

DaisyChain said...

this sounds amazing

Parita said...

I love roasted eggplants and red bell peppers..delicious!

Barbara said...

After roasting my vegs i decided to peel the peppers as I wanted that silky smooth consistancy. I wish I would have peeled my eggplant more carefully too. It is really delicious and I will make again and again. THANKS so much. YUM!