Roasted Eggplant-Chèvre Mousse
1 large eggplant (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
olive oil, for coating
1 head of garlic, roasted, the pulp squeezed from the cloves *
1 red bell pepper, roasted
4 ounces unaged chèvre
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Halve the eggplant lengthwise and rub the flesh with a little of the olive oil. Place the halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Roast until very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
Scrape the eggplant pulp out of the pulp skin with a large spoon. Discard the skin; very finely chop the pulp. Combine the eggplant pulp, garlic pulp, roasted bell pepper, cheese, scallion, basil, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mash together with a fork until well combined. Taste for seasoning; depending on how tangy the chèvre is, you might desire more salt or vinegar.
Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving.
* For one whole head of garlic, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Rub the head with a little olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast in the oven until the cloves are completely soft, about 30 minutes. When cool, squeeze the softened garlic pulp from its skin; it will have a paste like consistency. Use immediately.
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