Mediterranean Spread

Advocate staff photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA -- Use red bell peppers to make Mediterranean Spread. Serve with Melba toast rounds or crostini.
Advocate staff photo by BRIANNA PACIORKA -- Use red bell peppers to make Mediterranean Spread. Serve with Melba toast rounds or crostini.

Dr. Hal Canning

Mediterranean Spread

Serves about 10 to 12. Recipe is by Dr. Hal Canning.

2 red bell peppers, seeded

1 medium eggplant

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbls. good olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 tbls. lemon juice

2 tbls. tomato paste

Dash of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning

Melba toast rounds or crostini

1. Roast the Red Bell Peppers first: Set oven to broil. Cut seeded peppers in 3- to 4-inch strips. Place on foil-lined pan about 2-3 inches from broiler for 12 to 15 minutes. The skin should be very dark (almost burnt). Put peppers in brown paper bag that has been lined with paper towels and seal until they are cool enough to handle. Remove skin from peppers and cut peppers into 1-inch cubes.

2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the eggplant. Dice eggplant and onion into ¾-inch cubes.

3. Combine eggplant and onion in a large bowl with the roasted red peppers, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are browned and softened, stirring once while roasting. Allow the vegetable to cool.

4. Place the vegetables in a food processor using a steel blade. Add the lemon juice and tomato paste and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Add Tony Chachere’s and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve on with Melba toast rounds or crostini.