1 (1-pound) (450-g) eggplant
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup Olive Spread
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 recipe Toasted Garlic Bread
Serves 6 to 8
Cut the stem end from the eggplant and cut in half length-wise. Score the flesh lightly with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut through the skin. Rub the cut surfaces with the salt and place on paper towels, cut-side-down, to drain for 20 minutes.
Preheat the over to 425 degrees. Dry the cut surfaces of the eggplant halves and brush with the olive oil. Place, cut-side-down, on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes. The eggplant is completely cook when it dents easily as you poke the skin. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes.
Scoop the pulp from the eggplant halves into a colander. Place a saucer or small plate on the eggplant and place a weight on top (a large can of tomatoes works well). Drain for 20 minutes, until most of the juices have been pressed out.
Place the eggplant in a food processor or blender with all the remaining ingredients except the garlic toast and process to a smooth consistency. Serve on the garlic toast.
Cook's Tip: Add zesty tang by spreading a thin layer of goat cheese on the garlic toast before topping with the eggplant spread.
Wine Suggestion: Cabernet