My family and I recently returned from a trip to Block Island – a small destination off the coast of Rhode Island only reachable by ferryboat. We’ve been making the trek nearly every year of my life to spend some time with one another, the beautiful nature surrounding us, and snag some moments away from the busy demands of everyday life. This year’s trip was especially relaxing and, of course, filled with delectable meals each night.
Eli’s is one of our faithful standbys. We have yet to be disappointed by this unassuming little spot. What delighted me even more than the delicious fresh seafood meal was the sundried tomato and garlic spread that began our meal.
The rustic and savory taste set it apart from similar dips and plain butter that typically kick off a meal. This pairs best with a crusty but soft and buttery-tasting bread that pulls apart without much effort.
I made a few adjustments to mine so that it served well at a gathering. While the look is different, the flavor is similar.
1 jar (about 8.5oz) of sundried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
2 bulbs of garlic
2 tbsp finely fresh grated parmesan
1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil, reserved from the jar of sundried tomatoes
Ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
First, you’ll need to roast the garlic. To start, you’ll need to cut the top of the garlic bulbs so that the cloves inside are exposed.
Then, place the bulb in an oven-proof container – a ramekin or even a muffin tin will do. Drizzle with olive oil and top with cracked pepper and sea salt. Cover with foil and place in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. After the garlic cools, the cloves can be peeled out very easily.
Remove the sundried tomatoes from the jar and reserve the olive oil.
Use an immersion blender to mince the tomatoes into small pieces. If you don’t have one available, you can use a regular blender or finely chop the ingredients with a knife.
Remove the roasted garlic cloves from the bulbs. Reserve about ¼ of the cloves. Mix the garlic and oregano into the tomatoes with the blender.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil reserved from the jar of sundried tomatoes and the finely grated parmesan. Fresh parmesan will provide the best flavor.
Mash the remaining cloves (just in half for best results) with a fork to provide a chunkier texture and gently stir in to finish.
Serve immediately and enjoy with artisan bread or refrigerate for up to 3 days.