This is another winner of a recipe from Yottam Ottolenghi. If you have a fondness for eggplant you’re going to love this dish. I normally find eggplant that has been baked rather than fried a little on the dry side. It’s great that it’s healthier but it lacks the silky soft quality that eggplant has when it’s been fried. Ottolenghi has found the perfect cure for this by marinading the baked eggplant in a dressing of garlic, herbs, lemon and olive oil which slowly seeps into the eggplant infusing it with wonderful tastes and aromas. I love side dishes that can be prepared in advance and this one not only can be, but has to be. I find the longer it sits the better it tastes and I usually make it in the morning and leave it at room temperature to marinade until dinner time. You could also make it the night before and keep it in the fridge but make sure you let it come fully to room temperature before serving. These marinated eggplants would also be wonderful as an appetiser on top of bruschetta or just served with some warm flat bread.
Ingredients – serves 4 Adapted from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
3 medium-sized eggplants
olive oil for brushing
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 mild red chilli, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
1-2 garlic cloves finely diced
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 220C. Trim the stalk end off the eggplants, then cut each eggplant in half, widthwise. Cut the fat lower piece lengthwise in half and then cut each half into 3 wedges. Do the same with the thinner piece, but cut each half into 2 wedges. You should end up with 10 similar size pieces from each eggplant with skin on their curved side. Line a baking sheet with non stick paper and place the eggplant on the tray skin side down. Brush each piece generously with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the top or middle section of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges of the eggplant are golden and they are soft to the touch.
Whilst the eggplant are roasting place all the marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine. As soon as the eggplant are done toss them gently through the dressing until all the slices are well coated but try to ensure you don’t mush up the eggplant or break them as you mix. The eggplant tastes best when they have at least a couple of hours sitting in the dressing. Keep them at room temperature in a cool place for up to a few hours or place in the fridge but make sure that you bring them to room temperature before serving.