Here's a recipe for an eggplant cheese dip. Very flavorful roasted eggplants are mixed with tomatoes that have been cooked until softened, then the mixture is folded into fluffy mascarpone cheese and Romano cheese. The last step is to warm up the dish for a few minutes and wait until it gets bubbly. I paired the warm dip with sweet and smoky barbecue ruffled chips, which serve two purposes: the texture makes it easy to scoop out the dip, and their smoky undertones manage to stand out against the robustly flavored dip.
We're days away from the Super Bowl! Hope your party planning is going well! If you're still looking for inspiration, I'm going to keep posting some recipe ideas until the big day.
Servings: 6 servings
1 large eggplant
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground coriander, freshly ground
½ teaspoon ground fennel, freshly ground
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon white pepper
1½ cups Romano cheese, grated
1(8-ounce) package Ruffles Sweet & Smokin' BBQ chips (or tortilla chips), warm
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon curly parsley leaves, chopped
For the eggplant pulp: Preheat your oven to 450°F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Layer a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet, then place the eggplant halves on top. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for about 30 minutes. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Place the 2 pieces of eggplant flesh side down on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle the top with a little oil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. The skin should be black and blistered. Remove from the oven, then cover with aluminum foil. Let the eggplant cool for about 10 minutes. Gather all the pulp of the eggplant and finely chop into a thick paste. Discard the skin, stem and seeds.
Cooking the onion and tomatoes: In a nonstick pan, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion. Cook about 6-8 minutes, until the onion is soft and slightly golden. Add the tomatoes. Cook until they become completely mushy. Add the eggplant pulp, ground fennel and ground coriander. Stir constantly so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom the pan. Season with salt. Remove from the heat. Let the eggplant mixture cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Whisk the mascarpone until smooth and add to the eggplant mixture. Add Romano cheese and stir until the color is even.
Whip the cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add salt and pepper. Increase to maximum speed and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the texture will become grainy.
Pour ⅓ of the whipped cream into the eggplant mixture. Mix well using a silicone spatula. Add the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold it in to get an airy cream. Transfer into a heatproof casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly.
Garnish with parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.
Serve warm with chips or tortilla chips.
For a healthier version, you could replace the heavy cream with ¼ cup milk and the mascarpone with drained plain yogurt (drain the yogurt using a fine mesh colander lined with a cheese-cloth to remove as much excess whey as possible).