I haven’t given much love to eggplants on the blog yet, as it only contains one single recipe within its pages. I’ve recently developed a new passion for this gorgeous purple vegetable and have included it in my dishes in so many ways, ranging from salads and pizzas to ratatouilles and more. I’ve made my eggplant casserole a zillion times, and although I love it and can never get it enough of it, I wanted to try something new over the weekend. You all now how much I love Ottolenghi by now and his mix of ingredients, so I sought inspiration in one of his cookbooks (aptly called Ottolenghi The Cookbook) and stumbled upon a recipe that called for roasting eggplants prior to marinating them in a zesty dressing. It sounded easy and most of all delicious, and as usual, I adapted the recipe to my preferences and according to what I had left in the fridge before my weekend supermarket shopping.
Ottolenghi truly masters the art of cooking eggplants, one of the staple ingredients in Middle Eastern cuisine. There’s so much more to this vegetable than baba ganoush and he has understood its incredible potential, adding it to a wide range of dishes. I love roasting eggplants even more than I love them fried, because there’s nothing I love more than the mouthwatering smokey flavor they get during the cooking process.
For this recipe I used two types of eggplants — two regular eggplants and one graffiti eggplant — but feel free to mix and match with whatever you find. It is important to dress the eggplants in olive oil before roasting them, either by drizzling it on top of them or using a brush, as Ottolenghi suggests, to coat them thoroughly. Eggplants tend to soak up so much oil, but don’t skip this step as it is what truly enhances the vegetable’s flavor and gives it such a gorgeous golden hue.
Ottolenghi suggests marinating the roasted eggplants and then topping them with some tahini before serving, but I wanted something lighter so I omitted the tahini dressing. The marinade I used includes olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, coriander, garlic, salt and pepper; a combo that goes marvelously well with eggplants and brings out the best of them. Give it a try!
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- 3 small eggplants, sliced in cubes
- Olive oil
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F and line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Scatter the eggplant cubes over the tray and drizzle olive oil over them. Season the eggplant cubes with salt and pepper and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until completely soft inside and golden on the outside.
- Prepare the marinade while the eggplants are cooking. As soon as they are reading, place them in a big bowl with the marinade and toss to coat all the eggplant cubes with the marinade. Set aside to cool down to room temperature and let marinate for 2 hours. Serve topped with some more parsley and coriander at room temperature.
STORAGE: Leave the marinated eggplants at room temperature for up to four hours. Store in the fridge if needed until ready to serve, but make sure to take them out of the fridge two hours before serving so that they're back at room temperature