B’s amazing looking dessert takes me back to Melbourne where the Greek food abounds, and ‘filo’ as we call it is part of our make up.
I was tempted to make Spanakopita, a spinach and cheese pie baked in filo pastry, but I am relishing making new dishes. What else would fit with this current crop of dishes we have been making… something with eggplant? A dip? Now, I love Baba Ganoush, but Jason, my husband has just never been a fan of eggplant, I think much of it is the texture. But how about a spread with eggplant and tasty tasty olives? Would that pass muster with him?
My supply list… one verrrrrry long eggplant, kalamata olives, parsley, garlic, limes for zesting, olive oil, chilli flakes and salt.
I sliced the eggplant in half lengthways (and in my case in half again) and placed in a baking tray. Then drizzled with olive oil and spread with a brush. I sliced a clove of garlic thinly.
After spreading the garlic over the eggplant and giving a sprinkle with salt I baked until golden brown.
While the eggplant was baking, I prepared the rest of the ingredients. After pitting the olives I gave them a whizz in a food processor, until they were roughly chopped, and then put them in a mixing bowl.
Chop chop chop the parsley, and then in to the bowl also.
I shook in some chilli flakes.
Grated some lime rind in.
When the eggplant was baked to golden brown, I set aside to cool a little.
And when cool enough, scooped the flesh from the skin and put in to the food processor.
Whizzed it to a purée, and then added it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
I mixed it all up.
And that’s it! Serve with toasted bread, or crudités.
Both Jason and I commented…. “it tastes just like tapenade”. The eggplant adds a creamy texture to the olives, and smooths out the flavour, but it is still quite strong on olive flavour like a tapenade. Served like this it is nice for a pre-dinner snack with a drink.
This is a good recipe to use if you have eggplants and someone who would normally not eat them, because you can barely taste them.
If you are after a good strong smokey eggplant flavour, I would recommend charring the eggplant instead of baking.
Today I plan to make a salad with chickpeas, chopped up leafy greens, thinly sliced red onion and some of this ‘spread’ tossed through it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
OLIVE AND EGGPLANT SPREAD
(This is an adaption of a recipe by Martha Stewart.)
2 medium sized eggplants (or one verrrrrrry long one like I find here), halved lengthwise
drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
good pinch of salt
1 cup Kalamata olives (or a mix of green and Kalamata)
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
Pinch of chilli pepper flakes
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon or lime zest
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice eggplants in half lengthways and place on a baking tray with the cut side up. Drizzle and brush with olive oil, and scatter the garlic slices on top, and sprinkle with some salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool a little. (Or use this alternate eggplant cooking method for a smokier flavour.)
Pit olives and blend in a food processor until roughly chopped. Put the olives in a medium sized bowl and add chopped parsley, chilli flakes and citrus zest.
When eggplant is cool enough scoop the flesh and garlic from the skin of the eggplant and put in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the eggplant to the bowl and mix well. Add salt to taste.
Serve with toasted sourdough or crudités.
Here’s the salad. I mixed a rinsed can of chickpeas with half a cup of the ‘spread’, sprinkled in a little salt, added a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a grind of pepper and mixed well. I threw on top some ripped up lettuce, some pre-soaked red onion slices (see recipe for couscous salad if you want to see the method I use) and crumbled in about 50 grams (2 oz) feta. I then tossed the salad well.
It was nice. A good robust lunch. The kind of meal I like to take to work if I am heading to an office. If I was taking it as a packed lunch I would mix it all bar the lettuce and then add the lettuce at the last minute. Healthy, filling and tasty.
So B, you know what that means…. ‘tag’ you’re it!