EM Bistro eggplant tapenade

Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields Serves 12
EM Bistro eggplant tapenade
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Trim and peel the eggplants. Slice into 1 1/2 inch slices. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Let rest for 20 minutes, then rinse off the salt, turn the slices and sprinkle the other side with a tablespoon of salt. Let rest 20 minutes, then rinse.


Heat one-fourth cup olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the eggplant slices in batches, adding oil as needed, up to one-half cup (three-fourths cup total). Cook on both sides until caramelized and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.


Place the slices on a baking sheet and finish cooking in a 400-degree oven until very soft, about 10 minutes. Cool. Roughly chop the eggplant until it forms a paste.


In the meantime, place the garlic cloves in a piece of foil and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Seal and bake in a 400-degree oven until soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and use the flat side of a large knife to mash it into a paste.


Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a small pan. Add the onion and cook on medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.


Place the eggplant paste in a large bowl and stir in the onion, roasted garlic paste, chopped parsley, brown sugar, vinegar, capers, tomato paste, chili flakes, the remaining teaspoon salt and the pepper.


Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with thin slices of sourdough or whole grain bread. Makes 4 cups.

Chef Ann Cooper at EM Bistro says the flavor is best if the spread is made a day ahead.

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