For some reason, everything seems to be getting super-sized, even appetizers. These little snacks have expanded to almost side-dish portions in recent years. One of the simplest ways to create a healthier appetizer buffet is to create bite-size portions instead of big platters of dips and spreads. You can scale them back down and still make a big splash. Tiny bites, or “tapas” are becoming all the rage, taking the restaurant business by storm. Maybe your own tapas are just what you need to scale down your holiday appetizers to a healthier size.
Instead, make tiny bites using similar ingredients. By offering smaller, bite sized portions, your guests will not tend to keep dipping and inadvertently fill up on appetizers before they even get a chance to sit down at the table.
Here’s a recipe to give a try.
Roasted Eggplant Spread
- 1 medium, firm eggplant
- 1 clove garlic, peel removed
- pinch of ground allspice
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- drizzle of good olive oil
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. With a small sharp paring knife, cut a couple slits in top of eggplant; this keeps the eggplant from bursting open in the oven.
Put eggplant directly on the oven rack (slit side up) in the middle of the oven and put the other oven rack below on the bottom with a cookie sheet on it to catch any drippings from the eggplant.
Roast the eggplant until it is fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
When tender remove carefully from oven to a cutting board to cool enough to handle.
With your sharp paring knife, cut the skin off and scoop the flesh out, putting it in your food processor bowl.
To the eggplant, add the garlic, allspice, salt, pepper, and parsley.
Pulse until the eggplant becomes paste-like, then with motor running, drizzle in just a touch of olive oil, stopping when the paste turns smoother.
Scoop out into a serving bowl and serve with a variety of breads, crackers, pita points, celery, or other vegetables. This should be served at room temperature, not cold.
You can easily make bigger batches, just increase each ingredient equally.