Thursday, March 18, 2010

baked eggplant

A couple of weeks ago I googled for vegetarian recipes. And there are millions of them! When I was a kid I thought all vegetarians eat are boring salads or, at best, stir-fries. Boy, was I wrong.

One recipe that caught my eye was this baked eggplant recipe from a Australian food magazine website. And I thought it would be a good thing to make for the family. And boy, was I wrong again.

I cooked it without reading the reviews. Either I was too trusting - they are a food magazine, after all- or I am not too smart.

Even if I followed the recipe strictly, no substitutions, timed to the last second, measured to the dot and all that, it turned out to be so dry. The family said the flavour was "nice" but it was just too dry.

Not one to admit defeat, I decided to make another baked eggplant. A much improved one that the family will rave about.

I did not even have to google the recipe this time. It turned out that one of my favourite cookbooks, the essential rice cookbook (murdoch books, 2005), has it! Why I did not look there in the first place is just beyond me now. I think I automatically just google everything.

This one turned out to be much, much better than my first attempt. Better flavour and texture. I am pretty proud to redeem myself. I added grated cheese on top even if it is not in the recipe to make it more kid-friendly. You do not have to.

Baked Eggplant
(the essential rice cookbook, Murdoch Books, 2005)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves 4

(Categorized by the authors as a simple recipe and generally quick to make – perfect for beginners)

  • 3/4 cup (185ml/6 fl oz) olive oil
  • 2 large eggplants (aubergines), cut in half lenghtways
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves. finely chopped
  • 400 g (13 oz) Roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or a 400 g (13 oz) tin of good-quality chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1/4 cup (35g/1 1/4 oz) currants
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (185 g/6oz) long-grain rice, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook eggplants all over for 8-10 minutes, or until the cut sides are golden. Remove from the pan and scoop out some of the flesh, leaving the skins intact and some of the flesh lining the skin. Finely chop the flesh and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan and cook the onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Now add the tomato, oregano, parsley, currants. Cinnamon, rice and the eggplant flesh and mix it in well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Put the eggplant in an ovenproof dish and fill each with prepared tomato mixture. Mix the tomato juice, lemon juice, sugar and some salt in a bowl, and pour over the eggplant. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve the eggplants on a platter with a light drizzle of oil and any of the remaining juice.

My variation:

If desired, sprinkle grated cheese on top. I just used tasty cheese. Parmesan and mozzarella would work well too.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! So glad you didn't give up and found a recipe your family will love! It looks great. =)


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