Roasted Eggplant Spread with Garlic-Olive Oil Crostini

Never did I ever think that eggplant could be so sweet and creamy.

Roasted in the oven until charred on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, eggplant makes the absolute perfect accompaniment to homemade crostini infused with garlicky extra virgin olive oil.

This recipe lets these cute little plants shine pretty much on their own. The natural sweetness and slight smokiness of roasted eggplant are intensified by adding just a few ingredients: cayenne (for a bit of “back” heat), smoked paprika (for extra smokiness), oregano (for brightness), extra virgin olive oil (for creaminess), and garlic (for the obvious reason that garlic makes everything better).

Sprinkled with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt (if you’re feeling fancy) or just plain old salt for those who don’t care that it’s pink and pretty, this Roasted Eggplant Spread is fabulous on crostini or just spooned into your mouth.

 

 

 

Makes: side dish or appetizer for 4 people

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

The Ingredients

3-5 small to medium-sized eggplants (the smaller the eggplant, typically the sweeter the eggplant)

3 large garlic cloves (2 finely minced, 1 peeled and left whole)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt (or regular sea salt works just fine!)

Fresh oregano, to garnish (or thyme, depending on your taste)

French baguette, cut into 1 inch slices

~1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

 

 

 

The Steps

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil, and place eggplants on sheet. Poke each eggplant with fork 3-4 times to ensure eggplants don’t explode in the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes. Flip eggplants with tongs to the other side. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Eggplants should be shriveled and somewhat charred in appearance. Remove from oven and let cool about 20 minutes.

Set oven to a high broil. Lay baguette slices on a baking sheet in rows. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Flip pieces to the other side and drizzle that side with olive oil. Place baking sheet in slightly cracked-open oven for about 2-3 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven, and flip slices. Bake other side of baguettes for an additional 2-3 minutes. Use the whole garlic clove to lightly rub each piece of baguette while warm. Set aside.

Run a knife lengthwise down each roasted eggplant. Use a fork and your hands to scrape out their meaty interior into a medium bowl.

Using a strainer over another bowl, strain eggplant juices from their flesh. You may need to use your hands or the back of a spoon to squeeze the juices from the eggplant flesh. You may keep these delicious juices for another purpose (i.e. a sauce) or discard!

Add ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil. Use a potato masher to mash and stir the eggplant into a creamy spread. Add minced garlic, a pinch of Himalayan salt, and ½ teaspoon cayenne. Stir again.

Pour mixture into a shallow bowl to serve. Garnish with ½ teaspoon cayenne, smoked paprika, a fresh sprinkle of oregano or thyme, and a small pinch of Himalayan salt (or regular salt).

Serve with garlic-olive oil crostini at room temperature.

 

 

 

The Steps with Pictures

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil, and place eggplants in sheet. Poke each eggplant with fork 3-4 times to ensure eggplants don’t explode in the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven, and flip eggplants with tongs to the other side. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Eggplants should be shriveled and somewhat charred in appearance. Remove from oven and let cool about 20 minutes.

Set oven to a high broil. Lay baguette slices on a baking sheet in rows. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Flip pieces to the other side and drizzle that side with olive oil. Place baking sheet in slightly cracked-open oven for about 2-3 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven, and flip slices. Bake other side of baguettes for an additional 2-3 minutes. Use the whole garlic clove to lightly rub each piece of baguette while warm. Set aside.

Run a knife lengthwise down each roasted eggplant. Use a fork and your hands to scrape out their meaty interior into a medium bowl.

Using a strainer over another bowl, strain eggplant juices from their flesh. You may need to use your hands or the back of a spoon to squeeze the juices from the eggplant flesh. You may keep these delicious juices for another purpose (i.e. a sauce) or discard!

Add ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil. Use a potato masher to mash and stir the eggplant into a creamy spread. Add minced garlic, a pinch of Himalayan salt, and ½ teaspoon cayenne. Stir again.

Pour mixture into a shallow bowl to serve. Garnish with ½ teaspoon cayenne, smoked paprika, a fresh sprinkle of oregano or thyme, and a small pinch of Himalayan salt (or regular salt).

Serve with garlic-olive oil crostini at room temperature.

 

 

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