Note: An extraordinary soup from chef Patrick Healy of Champagne Restaurant; it has only 150 calories per serving. If you're not on a diet, this might tempt you to start one.
3 large Japanese eggplants
Extra virgin olive oil
2 sweet red peppers
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart chicken stock
1 bunch fresh basil
Wash eggplants and split lengthwise in halves. Lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with olive oil to taste.
Roast eggplants at 400 degrees 45 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Puree flesh with skin in blender or food processor. Set aside.
Place peppers under broiler until skins are scorched on all sides. Place in plastic bag 10 minutes to soften, then peel and remove seeds. Puree flesh in food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Cover to sweat over very low heat 5 minutes. Add roasted eggplant puree and chicken stock to onion-garlic mixture.
Cook over low heat 15 minutes until flavors blend and mixture is heated through. Puree mixture in blender or food processor until smooth, then strain into clean bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut basil leaves into tiny cubes, resembling confetti.
To serve, place serving of soup in deep bowl. Spoon red pepper puree in center and swirl into soup. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with basil. Makes 6 servings.