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Spicy Eggplant Dip with Parmesan Toasts

Spicy Eggplant Dip with Parmesan Toasts
Preparing the eggplant dip a day or two in advance will allow the flavors to develop. It will also give you more time to prepare the rest of the food when you are entertaining. Be sure to bring the dip to room temperature before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil,
      plus more for brushing
  • 2 eggplant, each about 12 oz.,
      peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 baguette, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick
      slices
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
      cheese

Directions:

In a 4-quart deep sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add half of the eggplant and sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the remaining eggplant. Transfer to the platter.

Warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in the pan. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes and cumin until blended and return the eggplant to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is very tender and almost mushy, 6 to 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the eggplant mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley, lemon juice and the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

Preheat an oven to 350ºF.

Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until golden and crisp, 15 to 18 minutes. Let the toasts cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Let the eggplant stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve the Parmesan toasts alongside.
Serves 8.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.