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 400º 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.