Small Plates

By Lindsay Hunt | January 3, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

For my column this week, I wanted to keep with the theme of resolutions.  Last week, I mentioned wanting to challenge myself more in the kitchen, and I made Marcus’ recipe for delicious ginger beer. I resolve to eat more vegetables.

I love this easy Chickpea-Eggplant dip from Marcus’ book Soul of a New Cuisine.  It is packed with nutrients: there is potassium and folic acid in the eggplant, and zinc and protein in the chickpeas. It also gets flavor from roasted garlic and spice from the chilies.

I served it on top of toasted whole-wheat pitas with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt for an hors d’oeuvre, and layered it on an avocado, goat cheese and turkey sandwich. It’s super versatile, and a great, healthy spread to keep to my other resolution: Stay fit!

Chickpea and Eggplant Dip Recipe

Servings: Makes 3 Cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 8 hours and drained
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, cut in half
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 eggplants, cut lengthwise in half
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bird's-eye chilies, cut in half, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 tsp Harissa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Directions

1. Combine the chickpeas, carrot, and onion in a medium saucepan, add 4 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Toss the garlic and eggplant with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and arrange on a roasting pan, eggplant cut side down. Roast for 40 minutes. Add the chilies to the roasting pan, cut side down, and roast for another 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

3. Scoop the flesh from the eggplant and transfer to a blender. Add the roasted garlic and chilies, chickpeas, harissa, cumin, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Puree, adding more of the cooking liquid 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time as necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

4. Serve at room temperature with warm pita bread.

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