When Sam asked me to make a vegetarian sandwich spread cum dip for her, the idea was to replicate a lentil-based spread that I made a couple of months ago. I don’t think I managed to take photos of that one which is a pity because even carnivorous Speedy would spoon it on crackers when Sam was asleep.
As fate would have it, I couldn’t find lentils in the grocery. It’s possible that I didn’t look hard enough but we had come from a very extended lunch and I was in a hurry to get home to prepare dinner and get some work done. I saw cans of chickpeas, I grabbed one and decided that Sam’s spread would be a variation of hummus with tahini.
The following day, as I was gathering the ingredients for the chickpea-based spread, I realized that we had four eggplants in the fridge and I didn’t really have any plans for them. Since Sam loves eggplants anyway, I decided to combine two of the most beloved dips in the world — eggplant caviar and hummus with tahini.
First, I roasted the eggplants in the oven. I did not forget to pierce them first — that’s a lesson I learned the hard way. One time, I roasted eggplants in the turbo broiler and since the timer was set anyway, I went upstairs and cleaned one of the bathrooms. From down below, I heard popping sounds and when I got back to the kitchen, the eggplants had burst and the flesh were splattered all over the walls of the broiler. So, I never forgot to pierce eggplants before roasting after that.
How long does it take to roast eggplants? That depends on how thick they are. I use the Asian variety which are long and only about two and a half inches in diameter. They take 30 minutes to roast at 375F. If you have the time, you’ll get better flavors by char-grilling the eggplants.
While the eggplants were cooling, I made my pesto-style salad dressing minus the lemon juice.
I drained the chickpeas and crushed them — not too finely though because I wanted texture. The creaminess would come from the eggplants and the cheese that I planned on adding later.
I peeled the eggplants and mashed the flesh.
In a bowl, I mixed together the mashed eggplants, chickpeas and pesto-style salad dressing. I poured in extra virgin olive oil, stirring as I poured, until I got a dip-like consistency.
Then, the cheese. I stirred in grated cheese. The mixture got a bit too thick so I added more olive oil.
Finally, salt and pepper to taste.
I stored the dip cum sandwich spread in the fridge, in a covered container, to let the flavors develop. A few hours later, it was perfect.