Friday, August 3, 2007

Love and an Eggplant: A Variation on Roasted Eggplant Spread

I’ve already professed my undying love for Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa), but god help me, she deserves so much more. Sometimes I fantasize about vacationing in her spacious Hamptons home, sipping freshly squeezed orange juice while her slim, graying, professorial husband Jeffrey fans me with a 400-page doctoral thesis. When he tires, the three of us saunter off for putt-putt with Steven Spielberg and Martha Stewart, relaying gentile, yet hilarious anecdotes about our days in Cambridge studying medieval cross carvings. We are mysteriously handed mojitos at the 7th hole, and end the game collapsed in a tipsy heap on Hole 15, but not before Ina reveals to me her greatest secret: “Love, my busty friend. I put love in everything I cook. Except the brownies. They’re fine on their own.”

Anyway, Ina’s Eggplant Spread is worth selling an ovary for, or maybe your least-favorite kidney. I cut the olive oil, substituted a yellow onion for the red one, and added more whole garlic, since it’s to my taste. Pair it with pita or a Ritz, and bask in the ensuing glory.

Cooking note: It’s really, really difficult to drizzle olive oil evenly on eggplant, since it’s absorbed almost instantaneously. If you have/can buy a spray bottle, I’d highly suggest it.

Slightly Altered BC Roasted Eggplant Spread
7 servings – 1/3rd cup per serving
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa.

1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 medium-small yellow onion, peeled and chopped into quarters
3 garlic cloves, whole
1 Tbsp. good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (if desired)
Cooking Spray

1) Preheat oven to 400F.

2) Stir eggplant, bell pepper, onion and garlic cloves together in a large bowl. Spray or drizzle with olive oil as evenly as possible, stirring a few times to coat. Add salt and pepper and toss.

3) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Spread eggplant mixture on it.

Roast about 25 minutes, and stir once for even browning. Roast an additional 20 minutes, until veggies are cooked through and browned well.

4) Let cool a few minutes, so it's not steaming hot anymore.

5) Pour veggies into a food processor. Add tomato paste. Pulse a few times to get to the consistency of your liking. Salt and pepper to taste.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
51 calories, 2.1 g fat, $0.49

1 medium eggplant: 132 calories, 1 g fat, $1.26
1 large red bell pepper: 40 calories, 0 g fat, $1.41
1 medium small yellow onion: 45 calories, 0 g fat, $0.35
3 garlic cloves: 15 calories, 0 g fat, $0.15
1 Tbsp. olive oil: 120 calories, 14 g fat, $0.08
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.03
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1 tablespoon tomato paste (if desired): 6 calories, 0 g fat, $0.09
Cooking Spray: negligible calories and fat, $0.03
TOTAL: 358 calories, 15 g fat, $3.41
PER SERVING (TOTAL/7): 51 calories, 2.1 g fat, $0.49

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Erin said...

this is hilarious - but what good cook doesn't count ina garten as one of their closest friends? she is one of mine - we visit each other about twice a week, and she makes those chocolate truffles i love and a plate of brownies for me to take home ;-)

Kristin V said...

I know this was posted a couple years back, but I wanted to say that I just tried this recipe and it was delicious! Brought it to girls night and it was definitely a hit! I think I would cut down the salt a little bit next time though.