Olive and Eggplant Spread
2 eggplants, each 1 to 1.5 pounds, washed and dried
½ cup olive oil, divided
¾ cup pitted Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted
2 to 3 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Then score flesh ½-inch deep in a crosshatch pattern.
2. Rub eggplant halves all over with ¼ cup olive oil. Place cut sides down on a baking sheet.
3. Bake on the middle rack of a 375°F. oven until flesh is browned and very tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
4. Scoop flesh from eggplant into a large food processor; discard skin.
5. Into food processor, also add olives, capers, remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Process until mixture is smooth.
7. Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature with Pita Toasts, baguette slices, or water crackers.
NOTE: From the Gourmet Cookbook, which says, “This is very similar to the Provencal olive condiment known as tapenade, but it’s beefed up with eggplant, which gives it a more luxurious texture and, not incidentally, makes it less expensive to prepare.
Original recipe called for extra-virgin olive oil, but I used regular olive oil, and I thought the spread turned out deliciously.
The spread can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.