Making roasted eggplant spread is an easy---but moderately time-consuming---project. Vegetables are prepped, then grilled, and completed with herbs and greens. There's no need to follow a specific recipe. Every good cook has her own, with her own list of ingredients. Experiment with yours until you're happy with the results.
Trim the ends off two or three small eggplants. (Smaller vegetables are usually less bitter.) Cut the eggplants in half, long-ways. Cut the stems out of two red bell peppers and then scoop the seeds out. Cut the peppers in half. Peel and chop a red onion and two or three cloves of garlic, to taste. Peel and seed two Roma tomatoes.
Some cooks sweat the excess moisture out of the eggplant by sprinkling the cut sides with salt and letting it drain in a colander. If you use this method, rinse the salt off before you use the eggplant, pat it dry, and reduce the amount of salt you add to the spread.
Toss the onions and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet and put them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they soften, about 40 minutes. Check them frequently and toss them a couple of times while they're cooking.
Light a charcoal or gas grill and let it get hot. Brush the cut side of the eggplants and the inside skin of the peppers with olive oil. Brush the grill with olive oil or use non-stick cooking spray.
Roast the vegetables, skin side up, on the grill. Keep a close eye on them. Remove them when the flesh shows grill marks and is softened, then chop them coarsely.
Put the eggplant, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and tomatoes in a food processor with the steel blade. Add fresh herbs to taste. Herbs like oregano and parsley are traditional, but experiment with other flavors like cayenne, paprika, or cumin if you like spicy foods.
Pulse the food processor until the spread reaches the consistency you want. A coarser spread works well with bread. A more refined spread can be served with crackers or drizzled over soups.
Put the spread in a bowl and fold in pitted black olives and capers. Drizzle the mixture with balsamic vinegar or more olive oil if you wish. Garnish with parsley leaves, snipped chives, or crumbled cheese.
Roasted eggplant spread is traditionally served as a topping for crackers, pita slices, or crusty Italian bread---but it can be used the same way as any other spread. Make a rustic sandwich by slicing a baguette in half, lengthwise, spreading the roasted eggplant on one side and running it under the broiler until the bread starts to crisp and the eggplant is warm. You can add it to a tomato-based sauce for pasta. Serve it with steaks or mix it with garbanzo beans and sliced red onion for a salad.