Regular readers of our blog will have noticed we are fans of the prolific chef and author Yotam Ottolenghi. He has a genius for highlighting and complementing the flavours of his ingredients. His books have introduced us to many new ingredients over the years, most of which are now regular items in our pantry.
Like many people this year, we have spent a lot of time self-isolating at home, and one of the projects which kept us busy was cooking through Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Simple. As in all of his books, the recipes in Simple really bring so much flavour from a small amount of ingredients.
Ian’s favourite vegetable is eggplant but we know not everyone is a fan of its texture or flavour. Trust us though, if anyone knows how to make the eggplant shine, it’s Ottolenghi, and this is the dish to convince you eggplant-doubters to include this vegetable in your repertoire more often. Don’t be put off by the anchovies, it really just adds a depth of flavour and umami to the recipe rather than a fishy or overpowering taste.
We changed the recipe slightly by reverting to an older version of the recipe which uses crispy oregano. If you really can’t be bothered with this step, just use fresh oregano instead, although the crisp oregano does add an interesting texture to the dish.
This serves 4 people as a side dish, or 2 as a main. It goes well with just about any protein, but eggplant is always wonderful when paired with lamb. We hope you enjoy, let us know in the comments of you give it a try!
- 4 medium eggplants
- 100ml olive oil
- 45ml vegetable or canola oil
- 20g anchovy fillets in oil
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 ½ Tbsp oregano leaves
- 5g parsley leaves
- salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 240°C
- Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Slice the eggplant into 2cm thick discs and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Place the eggplant slices on the baking trays and brush both sides with 70ml of the oil. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the eggplant is a caramel brown colour and cooked through, but still holds its shape. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking tray to cool.
- For the crispy oregano, heat the vegetable or canola oil in a small saucepan over a high heat. Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping in an oregano leaf. The oregano should sizzle, become crisp and turn a brighter shade of green immediately. If the oil is too hot, the leaf will become dark in colour. Once your oil is at the right temperature, add one tablespoon of oregano leaves to the oil and cook for just a few seconds, until crisp. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
- To make the anchovy dressing, drain and finely chop the anchovy fillets and crush the garlic clove. In a bowl, whisk together the anchovy, garlic, white wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper and a good big pinch of salt. Slowly add the remaining 30ml of olive oil, continuing to whish until the dressing is well combined.
- Finely chop the parsley and the remaining oregano, and place in a bowl with the eggplant. Pour over the anchovy dressing and gently toss to coat the eggplant. Place on a serving dish and scatter with the crispy oregano just before serving.