And if you like A Veggie Venture, thank Clotilde. I'm quite sure that it was her blog, Chocolate & Zucchini and one of a couple of 'famous' blogs then and now, that was my own introduction to food blogging back in 2005.
For this easy appetizer, I experimented with three different kinds of eggplant. Two small-ish globe eggplants (a pound apiece, not pictured) yielded less than a cup of eggplant after roasting and removing the seeds. (What's a globe eggplant? It's the 'standard' eggplant, at least my experience in American supermarkets. They typically weigh a couple of pounds and are elongated but fat, typically four or five or even six inches across the fattest part.)
So then I roasted Chinese eggplants (these are eight to ten inches in length, a couple of inches wide, one is pictured at the far left) and some Japanese eggplants (four or five inches long, about an inch wide, the smaller eggplant in the middle). The Chinese eggplant were perfect -- they yielded a pile of roasted eggplant with few seeds. The Japanese eggplant were just too small, roasting overwhelmed them. The India eggplants (small and round, on the right) I gauged too small for roasting but I'm anxious to see how they turn out in something else. Here's an excellent comparison of the types of eggplant.
NUTRITION NOTES This is a low-cal appetizer, low-point appetizer, even a great low-carb appetizer. Dig in! (Not counting the bread or chips, of course ...)
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Clotilde inspired this asparagus jam ... "good along roast pork or some other rich meat where the sweetness would contrast richness".
The Recipe Box has plenty of appetizer recipes and of course, eggplant recipes.
TWO YEARS AGO Fiddlehead ferns! ... "these were utterly delicious and so very, very pretty! Look at those curlicues!"
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Time to table: 2 hours or overnight
Makes 2 cups
2 pounds eggplant, preferably Chinese, left whole (Clotilde suggests Italian eggplant which are smaller versions of the globe eggplant, or baby eggplant)
Garlic cloves, halved if large
2 tablespoons olive oil (I skipped this, accidentally)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (this creates the more pleasing 'dark' color vs the muddy gray of eggplant flesh)
Zest and juice of a lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (also called Italian parsley, it has way more flavor than the 'curly' parsley that served as 'garnish' on 70s-style plates)
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted in a drop of olive oil in a small skillet
Salt to taste
Pinch of chile powder
Turn oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with olive oil. Prick the eggplants all over with the tip of a knife. Then cut a slit partway into the fattest part of each eggplant and insert a piece of garlic into each one. Roast for an hour, turning after 20 minutes and 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cut along the length of each eggplant without cutting through skin on the other side. To drain 'excess liquid' from the eggplants, place slit-side down in a colander to cool. Once cool, use a knife to scrape the flesh from each eggplant, discarding the stem and skins.
In a food processor, combine the roasted eggplant with the remaining ingredients and process til smooth. Chill for an hour or overnight. Serve with crostini.