French Provencal Eggplant Spread


Provencal Fresh Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup minced shallot

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 tsp. fresh minced fresh thyme

2 tsp. tomato paste

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup fresh minced basil

salt and pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat oil. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until fragrant and slightly softened. Add tomatoes and thyme; reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened.

Add tomato paste, butter and basil; whisk until butter melts. Season with salt and pepper,  to taste. Refrigerate or freeze leftover for other uses.

Eggplant Spread

2 eggplants

1/2 large onion, peeled

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup fresh tomato sauce

3 tablespoons minced basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the eggplant in half and place on foil lined lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast until very soft, about 1 hour.

When cool enough to handle, scoop the pulp from the eggplants and place in a  bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the onion and garlic to the eggplant pulp. Blend until smooth. Add oil, vinegar and lemon juice and pulse to blend. Stir in 1/2 tomato sauce and minced basil. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

Serve with crackers or fougasse bread. Also wonderful as a pasta sauce.