Need some culinary inspiration?
This is my deliciously quick fresh recipe for a tasty oven baked eggplant. I made this recipe for a photo shoot in Gourmet Traveller quite a few years ago, and I still make this recipe today. Like all Italian recipes, this uses classic simple ingredients and simple flavours. This could be served as a light Italian entrée, perfect for a summer lunch or alfresco dinner, or even part of an antipasto platter. The best aspect to this recipe is that all the elements can be made ahead of time to then assemble the dish at the moment of serving.
Preheat the oven to 200c
Fry the eggplant in olive oil over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes until browned on each side, place onto a baking dish and finish cooking in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until softened to the touch but not sloppy.
Take the eggplant out of the oven and place a slice of cheese on each piece allowing it to melt slightly.
For the salad
In a blender or food processor place all ingredients except the olive oil and blend until smooth. Pour dressing into a bowl and gently whisk in the olive oil until just combined. Season with a pinch of salt. Pour a little dressing over the leaves and toss.
For the Roast Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 200c. Prick tomatoes with a fork several times and place in a baking dish.
Combine the garlic, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour over the tomatoes and place in the oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes basting the tomatoes with the marinade in the bottom of the dish until they are slightly roasted and softened. Set aside to cool.
To assemble the dish, place a round of eggplant on a plate, top with a small handful of the dressed leaves, another round of eggplant and finish with another small handful of leaves. Sit the roasted tomato on the side of the plate drizzling over the top some of the remaining roast tomato juices.
**Asiago cheese is a cow’s milk cheese, produced only on the Asiago plateau in the Veneto foothills in Italy. The cheese-making tradition in the provinces of Vicenza and Trento dates back to more than a thousand years. Traditionally, it was made from sheep’s milk but today it is produced from unpasteurised cow’s milk. Fresh Asiago is white or pale yellow in colour with a thin rind, with small, irregular holes throughout. It has a medium texture, like a firm sponge cake, with a delicately sweet and sour flavour and buttery aroma. Aged Asiago is pale yellow to amber yellow in colour with a compact to firm texture. It has a nutty and yeasty aroma with a strong flavour. It is great for using in dishes where you want a bite of flavour and great for melting onto pizzas or mixing into a white sauce.