This is definitely a portable food event. A buffet is the only option; nobody wants to be sitting down at a table to eat when they'd rather be screaming at a television set or two. I wanted to catch you before you hit the grocery store and give you a new recipe to try - not one of the heartier snacks like Buffalo wings, pizza or chili - but a dip. Not only is this a really good dip, but (dare I say it?) a healthy one, too. Don’t get me wrong, I like the old standbys: clam dip, spinach dip, crab dip and 7 layer dip. And while I know eating smart and healthy just isn’t in the cards for Super Bowl parties, it might be fun to offer a refreshing new dip that is not only flavorful but healthy too.
Listing those old dips just now brought to mind a funny old TV episode. Do you remember that 1993 Seinfeld show in which George Costanza is confronted at a funeral reception after dipping the same chip twice? We laughed, but honestly, didn’t it make you hesitate just a little the next time you saw a dip at a party? I even put a small spoon in my nut dishes now.
Luckily, my recipe is more a spread than a dip- so if you stick a small cocktail knife in the dish, everyone will spread it on- no double dipping. I like to serve it with some toasted pita triangles. Make it on Saturday- then the flavors will have had time to meld. The men in my family especially like this because it’s spicy and the women like it because it’s basically a veggie, it’s unusual and a snap to make. All you need is a food processor; the only thing that takes a little time is the peeling and cubing- which really takes no time at all. Roasting gives the vegetables tons of flavor and then you just dump it all in the processor. You really need to try this- I kid you not.
Roasted Eggplant Spread
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Ingredients:2 medium eggplants, peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons chopped parsley (save a few sprigs for garnish)
Method:Preheat oven to 400°.
Cut the eggplant, red bell pepper and onion into 1 inch cubes. Mix the garlic, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper and toss with the vegetables. Spread on a non-stick or silpat-lined large baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. Toss several times while roasting so the vegetables are evenly browned and tender. Cool slightly.
Pour all the vegetables into a food processor, add the lemon juice and tahini and pulse until blended. Add the chopped parsley and blend briefly. Put the eggplant mixture into a pretty bowl, garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve with toasted pita triangles.