Spicy Eggplant Slices and Roasted Garlic Paste

I was a little whirlwind this weekend, getting so much done that I impressed myself.

I walked around Wash Park with a friend and Skyped with my family.  I drove to Lafayette to celebrate the wedding of one of Matt’s best buddies (Fun party Jason!)

I knocked out two good workouts at CrossFit Verve. Oh, my little tired arms!  I finally added a way to search the recipes on this blog by category (see that new “Recipes by type” box near the top on the right?) and launched a Facebook page for the blog.  (It would be awesome if you would “like” it.  It’s new and needs some love.)

I also cooked a lot.  I roasted a chicken, braised some round steaks, tried a new meatball recipe and made three veggie dishes.  Pretty much everything I prepared was designed to be easy and make good leftovers for lunches this week.

However, I made one dish with the intention of slowing down and savoring my food.  That’s the recipe I want to share – spicy eggplant slices and roasted garlic paste.

Every time I make this roasted garlic paste, I imagine I am at a vineyard, having a picnic on a checkered blanket in the warm sun with the green hills rolling behind me.  I am sipping red wine, eating olives and spreading the garlic paste on crusty bread.

However, since I am not on vacation and prefer to skip the bread, I instead spread the garlic on salty, spicy eggplant slices.  Even though I was on my front porch in Denver and it was kind of chilly, just a spot of garlic spread on the eggplant slice took me on a mini-vacation to Napa in my mind.

Spicy Eggplant Slices and Roasted Garlic Paste

Garlic, 1 bulb

Eggplant, 1 small

Olive oil, 3 tablespoon

Cumin, ¾ teaspoon

Salt, 1/2 teaspoon

Pepper, ½ teaspoon

To make garlic paste –

Note: It’s easiest if you complete steps 1-3 in advance and let the garlic cool before going to the next steps.

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic, so the tops of some of the cloves are exposed.  Pour a ½ teaspoon or so of olive oil on top of bulb.
  3. Wrap the bulb in foil, toss it in the oven and let it bake for about 45 minutes, until it is super soft to the touch.
  4. When garlic has cooled, remove garlic from peel.  Just squeeze the bottom of each clove and the garlic will come out, almost like a paste.
  5. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil (and a dash of salt) to mixture and mash until smooth.

To make eggplant slices –

  1. Peel eggplant and cut into thin slices, about ¼ thick. Depending on the diameter of your eggplant, you may want to cut each slice in half so the slices are half circles (and not so big.) The goal is to end up with big “chip-sized” slices.
  2. Line a baking tray with foil (or parchment paper, if you have it.  I rarely do.)
  3. Using 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lightly but completely coat the top and bottom of each slice of eggplant and place on tray.
  4. Combine salt, pepper and cumin.  Sprinkle each slice with spices.
  5. Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until slices crisp up a bit.  Remove from oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove eggplant from foil.  This can be a little tricky sometimes. You may need to sort of peel them off carefully.
  7. Spread a bit of roasted garlic on eggplant and eat.  These are way better hot, so you might as well eat them all.

This makes enough for 2 people to have a snack.