I dare you to identify the mystery ingredient--eggplant--in this exotic soup. Near impossible. Yet eggplant soup is one of the most popular items on the menu at Patrick Healy's Champagne Restaurant in West Los Angeles.
"I love eggplant," said Healy.
He must. Healy uses eggplant in all three menus (contemporary, rustic and spa) offered at Champagne.
But that is not odd for an American chef whose culinary roots were formed in the south of France, where eggplant is the king of Mediterranean vegetables.
"Eggplant fits beautifully into my spa menu because it is naturally low in calories and has no fat," said Healy.
The thick, rather filling soup is served garnished with a merry swirl of red pepper puree for color and flavor fillip. The soup can actually double as a dip for vegetables; a sauce for roast poultry, game, pork or veal, or as a spread for crackers.
ROASTED EGGPLANT AND RED BELL PEPPER SOUP
3 large Japanese eggplants