Roasting vegetables to intensify flavor is a commonly-used trick in many restaurants and professional kitchens – and it’s a trick that is just as easy for a home chef to do as well! This recipe for Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Dip with Caraway Crackers had really wonderful, intense flavor from roasting eggplant, leeks and white beans before everything is puréed into this fantastic dip! And served with crispy and savory homemade caraway crackers – this is a fantastic appetizer for your next party!
My husband Jack and I have served variations of this dip at many of our parties at home – but this version stands out as a crowd favorite! In fact, this roasted eggplant and white bean dip is a variation of one that my husband Jack once served at a campaign event for President George H. Bush who kicked off his re-election campaign at a facility up in New Hampshire where Jack managed the food service.
The President brought his own food to eat (presumably for security reasons) – but his staff ate everything Jack and his staff prepared to rave reviews! (At least Jack can say that he got to cook for a President of the United States – even if he didn’t actually eat any of it!)
By the way, Jack had the opportunity to meet President Bush after the event and he tells me that he had a very firm handshake, seemed like a very nice man, and was a lot taller than expected!Print
The crackers need 90 minutes to proof so plan accordingly – the prep time listed does not include the proofing time. The crackers can be made up to a day in advance.
For the Caraway Crackers
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup room temperature water
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
For the Dip
- 1 ½ pound eggplant
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup leeks, white part only cleaned of sand, chopped
- 2 large or three medium cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 15-ounce can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon Sriracha sauce
To make the Crackers
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, yeast, agave and oil. Add water slowly until mixture is a firm but pliable dough similar in feel to a pizza dough, but slightly stiffer. You may not need all of the water. Knead for ten minutes, cover with plastic and a towel and let proof 90 minutes in a warm place. Alternatively, you can put the dough in the refrigerator and let sit overnight then bring to room temperature and continue with recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut the dough in half and then roll out each half paper thin on a floured surface in the shape of a rectangle. This will require a few rest periods while the gluten relaxes. Let rest for five minutes one last time before transferring to each pan. Each rectangle should then fit in a parchment lined half sheet pan (12X16 ½). The dough does not have to touch the sides but does need to be really thin to get a cracker consistency when baked. If it hangs over, trim the edges.
- Mist each dough rectangle slightly with water and then sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds and one teaspoon of salt over each pan. Then with a pizza wheel or sharp knife, make horizontal and vertical cuts to form each cracker. Don’t worry about perfection, these should be rustic looking and not evenly cut. Also don’t worry about cutting all the way through. Once they bake, they will snap at the seams.
- Spray a tiny mist of pan spray over the tops just so the caraway seeds stick while baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until browned and crispy. Let cool on pans for five minutes before removing.
To Make the Dip
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Loosely wrap whole uncut eggplant in foil and place in oven and roast for one hour.
- While eggplant is cooking, and in a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of the olive oil, diced leeks, smashed garlic, drained white beans, white wine vinegar, white wine, salt and pepper. Mix and pour into small pan and roast in oven when the eggplant has cooked for 35 minutes so that they both come out of the oven together. The leek and bean mixture will take 25 minutes, tossing once half way.
- Remove both from oven. Let the eggplant cool enough to handle and cut off stem end. Slice vertically top to bottom so you have two halves. With a melon baller or spoon, remove and discard seed cavities. Then press down slightly so it lays flat and run your knife between the skin and the flesh. Remove flesh to a food processor. It may take a few swipes of the knife to remove the flesh, just keep the knife blade parallel with the cutting board. The usable amount of cooked eggplant will be about half of the original weight you started with.
- Add the bean and leek mixture to the food processor with the eggplant.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil, parsley, thyme, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Pulse a few times, scrape the sides of the bowl and then puree for about 20-30 seconds. The mixture should be slightly lumpy so don’t over process.
- Chill mixture until ready to serve then place in a bowl and drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil over the top and serve with caraway crackers.
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