RECIPES

ANTIPASTO AND PERSIAN ROASTED EGGPLANT

Antipasto: That’s Italian for ‘just getting warmed up’, though I typically refer to it as ‘all of the good stuff without any filler’. It’s really a showcase for fabulous little things, plus it’s an easy way to please a lot of different appetites.

Creating an Antipasto Platter is easier than you think.  Here are a few foodflavor.com.ng tactic tips:

  • In order to make this dish over-the-top great, take a trip down to your local Italian or specialty market when you have some time to look around. Don’t rush!

 

  • If this is your first time buying these items, find someone to help you make some of the choices. Many stores are happy to give you samples of cheeses, and other items. And who would you be to say no to a free artisan cheese education? Crazy, that’s who.

 

  • When you find someone who understands food and gives you great suggestions, make sure to ask them if you are forgetting anything, or if they have any other suggestions. Remember, they do this ALL DAY, and the people who are good at helping customers really know their food. Take their advice, and make sure to go back and shop with them again. Great food leads to great relationships, and great relationships with your specialty grocer is a huge asset!

 

  • Don’t forget to buy a beautiful big platter for assembling this dish. Big platters + killer ingredients=Showstopper!!

Here are the items I made for this Antipasto (clockwise, starting at 5pm):

Local Asparagus: Lightly sautéed in water, then pan seared with olive oil, salt & pepper. Top with toasted walnuts, and shaved perm, Romano, or other hard Italian cheese.

Tuna & White Bean Salad: 1-2 cups of cooked White Beans (Cannellini beans), 1-2 cans of high-quality Tuna packed in oil. Drain the oil off the Tuna, then mix with White Beans in a bowl. Add 1/8-1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon, salt & pepper. Optional: add chopped red onion and/or hot chili flakes.

Drunken Goat Cheese: A semi-soft, aged goat cheese from Spain that has been soaked in red wine.

Sardines

Country Mix Olives With Rosemary

Bleu Cheese

Calabrese Hot Salami

Artichokes With House-Made Marinade: I recommend marinating your own, as the ones that come already marinated are pretty nasty. Drain the water off of your artichokes, cut into halves or quarters, if they haven’t been already, and toss with olive oil, lemon or red wine vinegar, pesto, salt & pepper.

Local Baby Greens with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar & Shaved Perm.

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER:

Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella

All Salamis, Prosciutto, Sweet or Hot Capicola, Sweet or Hot Sopresatta

Roasted Red Peppers

Marinated Mushrooms

 

Some girlfriends & I went to an amazing Persian restaurant a few weeks ago that  I had been wanting to try for quite some time. It turns out it was just a take out counter, though as we were ordering almost everything in the display case, the woman behind the counter handed us 3 spoonful of freshly-made roasted eggplant with tomatoes & spices. It was incredible, so, of course, I had to make it at home immediately! Here is my rendition:

 INGREDIENTS:

2-4 Eggplants, any type will do.

1 Can BPA-free Tomatoes, or 3-4 fresh

1 medium Onion

3-6 cloves Garlic

Olive Oil

Cumin

Turmeric

Salt & Pepper

Hot Chili Flakes or Chili Puree (optional)

Cilantro Pesto (*recipe below)

Yogurt (2% fat, or higher!)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 400*

Cut Eggplants in 1/2 or Quarters, then score each piece being careful not to cut through the skin. Place on a baking sheet.

Drizzle or brush Olive Oil on top of each Eggplant. It will soak in very quickly, don’t be alarmed. Make sure to add enough oil to flavor & coat the top of each piece, but don’t over do it. Sprinkle each piece with Cumin, Salt & Pepper.

*If you are using Fresh Tomatoes, cut them in 1/2 horizontally (top & bottom, not side to side), and nestle them in around the Eggplants. You do not need to score the Tomatoes, but definitely add the Oil & Spices.

Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are brown & slightly crisp, then remove from the oven and set aside.

In the meantime, dice the onion & garlic. Sauté over medium heat in olive oil until onions are translucent.

Once the Eggplants are cool enough to handle, take a large spoon, and scrape out the insides of the Eggplant (known as ‘the meat’). Discard the skins.

Add the Eggplant and Tomato to the onion mixture, mashing it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. You may need to add a little water, but do so sparingly–we want to keep the mixture thick.

Add 2 Tbsp. Turmeric and 1 Tbsp. Cumin. Add Hot Chilies, Salt & Pepper, to taste. Adjust all seasoning to your liking and remove from heat.

CILANTRO PESTO:

1/2-1 Bunch Cilantro

Olive Oil

2-5 Cloves Garlic

Cumin

Salt & Pepper

Lemon

Optional: Toasted Coriander Seeds

Put all items into a food processor or blender & pulse until thoroughly mixed.

Serve Eggplant with Yogurt & Cilantro Pesto on the side.

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