This is one of the very first recipes in the very first book, and a long-time personal favorite.

You see, for at least a decade before ever hearing of the Barefoot Contessa, I got to enjoy this healthy and flavorful spread, thanks to one of my most beloved kitchen heros, Auntie Sondie. I don’t know where she got the recipe, and I think her version was called Eggplant Caviar, but it was one of my top four favorite treats to come out of her kitchen (the other three being kugel, mohn cookies and brownies, of course ““ no offense to her legendary liver and onions!). I still love it best atop Pepperidge Farms Hearty Wheat Crackers, Sondie’s traditional accompaniment.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier. You cube an eggplant, a red onion and red bell peppers, toss with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and roast it in the oven. When it comes out, you pop it into the food processor for a few pulses with a bit of tomato paste…and…that’s it!

Minor potchke, major flavor. Now that’s what I call a perfect balance!

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