Layered Hummus and Eggplant Appetizer

Submitted by Judy on Sat, 12/22/2007 - 7:38am.

Layered Hummus and Eggplant with Roasted Garlic and Pine Nuts 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar 1⁄2 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon sugar 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 eggplants (1 pound each), cut into 1/4 inch slices 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup olive oil Hummus with Roasted Garlic (recipe follows)

1⁄2 bunch cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped (1/4 cup)

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

About 8 pita breads, cut into wedges

1. Prepare the dressing: Whisk the vinegar into the olive oil in a small bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Set aside.2. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, in batches, and fry until it is cooked, browned, and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Continue cooking the eggplant, adding more oil as needed. Drain on ink-free paper towels. Coarsely chop the drained eggplant, and transfer it to a bowl.3. Whisk the dressing, pour about 6 tablespoons of it over the eggplant, or to taste, and stir. Add salt to taste.4. To assemble the dish, spread the hummus evenly on a large, flat decorative platter. Top with the chopped eggplant, spreading it to within about 1 inch of the edge of the hummus. Sprinkle with the cilantro and toasted pine nuts. Serve with torn or cut pita bread for scooping.

Hummus with Roasted Garlic1 head garlic1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup vegetable oil1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste1 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt, or more to taste1 teaspoon ground cumin1/8 teaspoon white pepper1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.2. Slice off the top of the garlic head so that all the cloves are exposed. Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil, and pour the 1 tablespoon oil over the exposed cloves. Twist the foil tight, and roast for 40 minutes. Open the foil and let the garlic cool for 5 to 10 minutes.3. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a food processor. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves and add it to the other ingredients. Process until smooth. Taste and add either more lemon juice or more water –enough to reach the desired consistency.