Monday, November 19, 2012

Caramelized Onion and Eggplant Dip with Endive "Spoons"

I’m sure you have all heard that old saying, “Patience is a virtue.”  Well, that saying definitely applies to caramelization.  Whether you’re caramelizing sugar, meat, vegetables or anything for that matter, caramelization can be a tricky thing to accomplish.  Depending on what you are trying to caramelize, it can either happen very, very quickly to the point of burning (sugar, for example)
or it can take what seems like an eternity (much like the onions in this recipe); but, do not get discouraged, because caramelization is a beautiful thing and adds layers and layers of flavor to any dish, which makes it completely worth the time and occasional frustration.

Caramelized Onion and Eggplant Dip

• 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
• ½ medium onion, sliced
• 1 eggplant, cubed
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• a pinch of cayenne pepper
• 2 heads of endive

1. Heat a large skillet and add 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil.  Add the onions and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 30 minutes, and set aside.  

2. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the pan along with the garlic and eggplant.  Sautée until the eggplant browns and turns soft, 5-10 minutes.  

3. Add the garlic and eggplant to the food processor along with the caramelized onions, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Blend to desired consistency (I prefer mine a little chunkier).  

4. Separate the endive leaves and top them with the eggplant dip.