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Eggplant and capers pair well together.  In this recipe they combine to form a chip derived, in part, from the Charleston Junior League’s ‘Plantation Eggplant Dip’ found in the League’s cookbook Party Receipts (1993).  The similarity between ‘Plantation Eggplant’ Pizza Chips with Capers and a store-bought snack food stops with their common label of ‘chip’.  These homemade ones are fine enough to be eaten and enjoyed individually.  Each chip is an hors d’oeuvre that will complement any aperitif.

At the same time, they are easy to put together and can be made in large numbers with little extra effort.

‘Plantation Eggplant’ Pizza Chips with Capers (for 24 Pizza Chips as an hors d’oeuvre for a dinner for 6 people; however, the eggplant spread recipe will be enough to make 48 chips or, the extra may be frozen in a jar to use another day)

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Ingredients for the ‘Plantation Eggplant’ Spread:

  • 1 medium Eggplant
  • 1/8 cup of Olive Oil, plus a little more for roasting the eggplant
  • 2/3 cup of chopped Red Onion or Purple Shallots
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 medium-sized Tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped:  Directions (with photos) for peeling a fresh tomato are here in the diplomatickitchen’s recipe for ‘Fresh Tomato Tart‘.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne

Ingredients for the Pizza Chips, in addition to the “Plantation Eggplant’ Spread:

  • 3 8-inch rounds of Pita Bread
  • 6 Tablespoons of grated fresh Parmesan
  • 3 Tablespoons of Capers–large or small, either is fine
  • Optional ‘Last Touch’:  2 or 3 large-ish fresh Thai Green Chilies (stems attached) for making Green Chili Starbursts (Instructions are given below, after the “Chip’ recipe.)

Equipment:

  • 1 or 2 Baking Sheets large enough to hold the 24 triangles of Pita in one layer or 2 large Pizza Pans:  Pizza pans with open-holed bottoms are especially good for crisping the chips, but any pans will be fine.
  • A Pizza Cutter does a good job of slicing the Pita into triangles but it isn’t essential.
  • a Mixing Bowl
  • a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed Pan

I.  Making the Eggplant Spread (for about 1 cup, which is enough for at least 6 8-inch rounds of Pita)  Extra spread freezes well in a glass jar.

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Cut the eggplant lengthwise in half.  Rub a little olive oil over the cut sides.  Place the two halves, skin side down, on a baking sheet and roast them until the flesh is tender–perhaps for 25 – 30 minutes.  When the eggplant is done, a knife pierces down through the flesh with no resistance.

2.  When the eggplant is cool enough to pick up, peel off the skin.  Chop up the flesh and put it in a bowl.

3.  Heat the oil in the pan.  Add the chopped red onion or shallot and the garlic and cook, stirring, until they soften.

4.  Add the chopped, roasted eggplant, the finely chopped tomato, the lemon juice and the cayenne and cook them all over medium low heat until the mixture thickens.  Cool the eggplant spread before using it to make the Pizza Chips.

A Note:  ‘Plantation Eggplant’ may also be spread on buttered toast points or crackers, or used as a dip.  Served in any of these ways, the addition of a few capers would not be amiss.

II.  Making the Pizza Chips:  The chips are best when made just before they are served.  To put them together and bake them will take no more than 10 minutes.

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 F.

2.  Spread each round of Pita with about 3 Tablespoons of eggplant spread:

3.  Sprinkle each round with about 2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan and 1 Tablespoon of capers:

4.  Cut each Pita into 8 wedges:

5.  Arrange the wedges in a single layer on baking sheets or pizza pans and bake them for 5 minutes.  Serve at once–perhaps garnished with Green Chili Starbursts:

III.  A Last Touch:  Green Chili Starbursts

Ingredient:

  • 2 or 3 large-ish whole Thai Green Chilies with their stems still attached

1.  Cut each chili lengthwise from the top of the chili (near the point where it joins the stem) down through its tip:

2.  Remove the pith and seeds.  This is easily done under running water:

3.  Cut each half into ribbons.  Begin each cut at the top of the chili (near the join with the stem) and, for each ribbon, cut all the way down and through the tip:

4.  Separate the ribbons with your fingers:

A Final Note:  ‘Plantation Eggplant’ Pizza Chips with Capers is an hors d’oeuvre in the Dinner Menu:  A Lowcountry Dinner.  The eggplant spread is an adaptation from the recipe for ‘Plantation Eggplant Dip’ in Party Receipts from the Charleston Junior League (1993).

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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