There’s a restaurant in Santa Monica called Elephante, that sits perched above a few buildings on Second Street with a peaky ocean view. The Italian inspired menu has some things that I truly enjoy, and one of them is their whipped eggplant dip. This dip is not Baba Ganoush, with it’s chunky finish, but rather a light smooth spread that feels like cream in your mouth, but without any dairy. At the restaurant they serve it with slightly charred pieces of pizza dough that are roughly torn, but it would go nicely with any type of crackers or chips.
Since eggplants are widely available in all sizes, shapes and varieties right now, I thought it would be a good time for me to duplicate this dip at home. The first step was to get all my ingredients together, and for me, I had to add a jalapeno into the mix, for just a touch of heat. You know, after roasting a jalapeno, the sharp heat disappears and it becomes earthy and sweet, and looses its bite. I felt it necessary for more depth of flavor. As for the eggplant, I chose a medium globe variety, but you could use a couple of smaller Chinese eggplants, if that’s what’s available.
A food processor or good blender is all the equipment you need to create the creamy consistency of this dip. After a minute or two of pureeing, the dip lightens in color and becomes fluffy and gorgeous. You could also use this dip as a spread on vegetarian sandwiches, or spoon it over grilled chicken. I actually roasted my vegetables the night before and let them cool in the pan, and covered them in plastic wrap to puree the next day. This dip can be eaten chilled, or at room temperature.
1 medium eggplant or 2 small
1 jalapeno, sliced in half
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
(Makes about 1 Cup)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil into casserole dish or pan. Slice eggplant in half and place in pan. Rub with oil. Add jalapeno and garlic and rub in oil. Add 1/2 cup of water to bottom of pan.
- Roast in oven for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserts into eggplant easily.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. You can cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator at this point, if you choose.
- Scoop insides of soft eggplant into food processor, and add jalapeno. Squeeze garlic cloves, releases roasted pulp from center. Add salt and oil and puree for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth.
- Spoon into serving bowl and serve with chips, crackers or pita. Enjoy!