Roasted Kale and Eggplant Tapenade
Not quite a pesto, nor tapenade, hummus or babaganoush, this recipe takes elements of each and introduces a new cast of ingredients. Roasted kale and eggplant star in this unique spread, united by a process that renders one crisp, the other soft. The textural juxtaposition is balanced as the two are pureed together and infused with garlic and Italian herbs. Pistachios contribute a subtle nuttiness with balsamic vinegar adding a note of sweetness to round out the complexity of flavors in this Mediterranean-inspired spread.
A recipe that is easy to tweak according to personal taste, it is delicious at room temperature served with toasted rustic bread as a crostini, as a sauce for pasta or to top grilled meat / poultry.
Recently selected as an Editor's Pick for Your Best Greens at Food52.com.
ROASTED KALE AND EGGPLANT TAPENADE
[Makes 2 cups]
4 cups torn kale
1 large eggplant
4-5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (plus additional for drizzling)
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
dried Italian herbs (basil, thyme oregano)
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup roasted pistachios
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel 4-5 cloves garlic and set aside.
2. Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch slices lengthwise. Lay them in a pan, sprinkle both sides with sea salt and allow to sweat for about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, wash about 4 cups of kale, pat dry with a towel and remove tough stems. Toss kale with olive oil and place in an oven-safe pan. Roast for 5 minutes, check and turn with tongs. Continue roasting for an additional 5 minutes until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. After eggplant has rested, squeeze pieces between a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Cut into smaller pieces and combine with garlic cloves in a roasting pan (you can transfer the kale to a plate and reuse that pan for convenience). Drizzle eggplant and garlic with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and generous sprinkle with dried Italian spices of your choice (basil, thyme, oregano)
5. Roast eggplant and garlic mixture for about 30 minutes, checking and stirring after 15. Eggplant should be very tender and browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
6. In a food processor, pulse together roasted kale, eggplant and garlic with 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley and 1/4 cup roasted pistachios. Consistency should be smooth but not lacking texture.
7. Taste and tweak seasonings to your liking. Best served at room temperature atop a toasted crostini round.