Travelling to Lebanon was one of the best experiences in my life. The kindness of its people, the beauty of the country and the richness of their food culture continue to impress me after all these years. I remember being invited for lunch with a local family. They didn’t speak English, but they took me in as their own. We used our hands to speak and shared a world class mezze without borders.
Hummus is one of those spreads that never gets old in my list of favorites. Who would have known that you could turn a few chickpeas into something so delicious?
Another surprising element of my trip to the Middle East was the many ways they have to cook eggplant. However, my favorite way to eat it has to be roasted with olive oil. It becomes naturally sweet and smoky without much effort.
This hummus and eggplant combo could not be complete without the addition of one of my favorite fruits: pomegranate. The freshness of the pomegranate seeds combined with the spiciness of the hummus and the smoky flavors of the eggplant turns this crostino into the perfect Mediterranean bite.
Wine tip: Lebanese Chardonnay or a French Rosé
Hummus & Roasted Eggplant Crostini
- 1 can of chickpeas (approx. 400gr.)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 lemon
- 3 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 medium-sized eggpplant diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, plus some leaves to decorate
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- Salt and pepper
- 1 baguette or other crusty bread
Preheat oven to 180°C. Add the diced eggplant to a large bowl and drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil until evenly coated. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss well. Spread the eggplant on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until lightly browned and soft (about 20 minutes), tossing twice during cooking. Remove of from the oven and add a drizzle of olive oil and one teaspoon finely chopped parsley when still warm. Set aside and let cool.
For the hummus: Drain and add the chickpeas into a food processor.
Peel and add the garlic, then add the tahini, a good squeeze of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt, paprika and cayenne pepper. Blend together. Use a spatula to scrape the hummus from the sides and blend again. The texture should be smooth. Add more olive oil if needed to create a smooth texture. Taste for seasoning and if needed add more lemon juice. Set aside.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a grill pan. Add the sliced bread to the pan and grill on both sides. Once golden all over, remove from the heat.
Add one teaspoon of hummus to the toasted bread. Add one teaspoon of the eggplant mixture to the hummus until well covered. Add a few pomegranate seeds to the top using the hummus as a base to help them stick. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Decorate with a a parsley leaf. Serve room temperature.