Eggplant is pretty polarizing. Some people love it and others hate it. I mean, pretty much everyone likes it when it's sliced thinly, coated in bread crumbs, fried, and covered with so much provolone that you can't tell there was ever a vegetable there to begin with. I feel like only someone inhuman wouldn't like that. But taking a bite of an actual, meaty eggplant is a whole other story. Jake and I are generally in the "deep fried or bust" camp, but we kept getting them in our CSA, so I figured it was time to experiment.
Generally, I'm big into dips, so I decided to give this recipe from Giada a try. I really liked it; Jake was still on the fence and decided that eggplant probably just isn't for him (he doesn't love Giada any less, but I don't think that has anything to do with her cooking). For me, the white beans cut the taste and also added a creaminess that I really liked. Then the lemon added some acid and brightness, and salt and seasonings finished it off. You could really do all kinds of different spices or herbs depending on taste, so it could be fun to experiment with different flavor combinations. I think this recipe is a winner, and if served with vegetables for dipping, it's certainly a healthier option than fried. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!
Eggplant and White Bean Dip
1 (1 1/2-pound) eggplant, trimmed and cubed Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1/3 cup Kosher salt, for seasoning, plus 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning, plus 1/4 teaspoon 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon) 1/2 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp paprika 2 cloves garlic
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place an oven rack in the middle.
Place the eggplant on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cooled eggplant, beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least two hours for the flavors to blend.
Place in a dipping bowl and serve with cucumber slices, tortilla chips, crackers, etc.
Source: Giada de Laurentis