DISHING UP THE GOOD STUFF: It's best to serve this starter at the table and provide each person with a small dish and extra napkins. Invite the guests to take a slice of the eggplant, spread it generously with the Smoky Garlic Spread and top it with a dollop of Herbed Tomato and Onion Salsa. The trio of flavors is positively symphonic!
ROASTED EGGPLANT HANDWICHES
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5) and have ready 1 or 2 large ungreased baking sheets or jellyroll pans. Wash the eggplant and cut it into 3/8-inch (1 cm) crosswise slices. If the eggplant is very large, cut the slices in half. Place them on the baking pans, sprinkle lightly with salt, and roast for 25 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
While the eggplant is roasting, prepare the Smokey Garbanzo Spread. When the eggplant is done, transfer the slices to an attractive serving platter and provide a fork.
Smoky Garbanzo Spread
1/4 cup (60 ml) walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke flavor
Combine al the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again to incorporate all the ingredients. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and provide a small knife for spreading.
Herbed Tomato and Onion Salsa
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 finely minced jalapeno
1 teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix well. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and provide a spoon.