Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

Someone (that might have been me) had a few bites before I remembered to take a picture.

Someone (not saying that it was me) had a few bites before I remembered to take a picture. Oops.

I used to say that I didn’t like eggplant.  (Well, except fried eggplant, but who doesn’t like that?  Cold fried eggplant on a sandwich with tomato and Swiss cheese…yum.  Now I’m hungry.)

However, when I joined a CSA a few years ago, I started getting eggplant – lots of eggplant!  Suddenly, I couldn’t just say that I didn’t like eggplant.  Instead,  I had to figure out how to like it.

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So I started with fried eggplant, of course, and that led to Eggplant Parmigiana, which is fantastic.  (I highly recommend this recipe.) But I wanted to find a way to like eggplant when it wasn’t fried.

In desperation, I figured that if I put enough olive oil and herbs on it and roasted it with some garlic, it had to be good.

It was good.  It was better than good; it was fantastic.  And when I took that roasted eggplant and garlic, added cheese and smushed it all together, it became a warm dip (a bit reminiscent of a spinach artichoke dip – but better).  I loved eggplant!

Here’s the best part: You can make this ahead of time and hold it in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for a few weeks, pop it in the oven to warm and have a delightful appetizer for any company.  Even people that say they don’t like eggplant.  (It totally won over my dad.)

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

  • 2-3 medium eggplants (I used white eggplant simply because that’s what I had in my CSA)
  • 2 heads of garlic (seriously)
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs – dried rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 1 and ¼ cup cheese, grated (I used Gouda, but Fontina would be nice as well)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off the eggplants and cut in half.  Cut the tops off the heads of garlic,exposing the cloves but leaving the heads intact.  Place both in a casserole dish (you may need to use two depending on how much eggplant you’re roasting).

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Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of the eggplant and the garlic.  Make sure that the eggplant is well coated – it will soak up a lot of the oil.  Sprinkle a heavy layer of the rosemary, thyme and oregano over the eggplant.  Salt and pepper the eggplant as well.

Roast the eggplant and garlic for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the eggplant is soft and the garlic is caramelized.

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Remove the eggplant and garlic from the oven and wait until the eggplant is cool enough to handle.

Scoop out the insides of the eggplant (along with all the herbs) and the roasted cloves of garlic into a large bowl.  Mix with a large spoon or potato masher until the garlic is well distributed and there are no pieces of eggplant larger than a silver dollar.

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Add about 1 cup of the grated cheese and mix into the eggplant/garlic mixture.

Farmers market cheese is the best!

Farmers market cheese is the best!

Transfer to a small casserole dish or a pie pan.  At this point, it can be refrigerated, frozen, or eaten right away.

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If you’re planning on eating it right away, top it with the rest of the cheese and pop it back in the oven until its hot and the cheese is browned on top.

If you’ve stuck it in the fridge or freezer, do the same thing when you want to use it – top it with about a ¼ cup of cheese and bake it in a 350 degree oven until it’s bubbly and the cheese is toasty.  This takes about 25 – 30 minutes from the fridge and a bit longer from frozen.

Serve with bread, crackers or veggies for dipping.  I like it with rye or multi-grain toasts.

Apparently, everybody liked it!

Apparently, everybody liked it!

Have you ever found yourself in possession of too many vegetables that you’re not crazy about?  What did you do?  Did you end up liking the very vegetable you thought you hated? 

This post is shared at Fresh Foods Wednesday.