Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Party Pleaser

Figuring out what dish you are going to contribute to a party is always a little stressful. That is why a few sure to please dishes never hurt anyone. This eggplant dip is purely delicious and a perfect contribution to any party.  The presentation can vary based on the type of party and it is always a hit!

I traditionally make this dish with regular eggplant, but I saw some beautiful japanese eggplant at the greenmarket and I couldn't resist. Eggplant should be salted for about 30 minutes before it is cooked.  After it is sliced, sprinkle it with salt and place it in a colander.  Salting helps remove the excess water and bitter flavor in the eggplant.

Eggplant Dip
Time: About 35 minutes
Makes about 3 cups 

1 regular eggplant, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (or 2 smaller eggplants)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
About 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped 
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup red wine
Olive Oil, enough for brushing

After the eggplant is sliced and salted, rinse it under water and pat dry with a paper towel.  Brush the eggplant on both sides with olive oil and place it on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle minced garlic, basil, salt and pepper over the eggplant.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Make sure the eggplant is soft by poking it with a fork.  

In a pan, drizzle some olive oil, heat over medium and add the onions.  Saute the onions until they are golden brown.  Then, deglaze with the red wine and reduce to about half.  Place the eggplant into a bowl and add the onion-wine mixture.  Smash the mixture together, using a knife if necessary to cut the eggplant skin.  The dip should be smooth enough to spread on a cracker but still maintain some texture.

Serving Suggestions
Spoon dip onto a crostini for a perfect hors d'ouerves or serve as a dip with a multigrain chip or cracker.  The dip is best served at room temperature. 

What makes this bite better?
Everyone knows that parties are the perfect place to binge on foods that you really shouldn't be eating.  This dip is fantastically flavorful and does not have the fat, additives or meats that usually accompany traditional party dishes.  Plus, this dish is vegetarian so any meatless eaters will be able to enjoy as well.  

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