Thursday, November 26, 2009

Marinated Eggplant Antipasto

A recent trip to Italy has left me with a nearly daily craving for eggplant. Can someone please help me?! I don't no why. I certainly didn't have it everyday while I was in Italy, unlike the varying quality of red table wine or endless bowls of pasta. And I didn't crave before I left.

What I think I'm trying to say is that if you have a favorite recipe with eggplant, I'd love to hear about it.

Antipasti or appetizers are authentically Italian. A plate of antipasti is often served before dinner or a formal lunch or as an afternoon or evening snack. They are characteristically tasty, light, appetizing and often served cold. Most of the antipasto plates I had included cured meats, grilled artichokes, eggplant, roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, seafood and sliced ciabatta. But sometimes they were as simple as bruchetta or sliced salami and olives.

I came across this lip-smacking recipe on Delicious Days for marinated eggplant that has every quality a good Italian antipasto should have. Simple ingredients and olive oil, tasty and delicious.

Marinated eggplants à la Ottolenghi
Recipe source: adapted from Ottolenghi - The Cookbook, p. 26

3 medium sized eggplants
olive oil for brushing
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small red chili
3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil or Italian parsley)
1-2 garlic cloves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Trim both ends of the eggplants, then cut each in two equal sized halves width-ways. Now cut each piece into six to eight wedges, depending on the eggplants' size. Key is to obtain (almost) equally sized wedges.

Generously brush the wedges with olive oil, place on the tray (skin side down) and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven (middle level) for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tips have turned brown and the wedges feel soft to the touch.

Meanwhile prepare the marinade: In a medium bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped red chili (discard seeds, if you like it less spicy), chopped herbs, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

As soon as the eggplants are done, transfer them into the bowl of marinade while still hot and carefully stir (the wedges should not be mashed) until everything is well covered. Serve after an hour at room temperature, or keep in the fridge (in a container) for some days. Enjoy with some bread, salami and cheese.

MORE ITALIAN RECIPES---------------------------------------------------------------------

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna
An Italian classic with rich flavours of pasta, sauce, cheese, mushrooms and spinach. Immensely satisfying.

Italian meat loaf or meat balls seared in olive oil and finished in a sauce of caramelized red onions, reduced balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. You won't beleive how good this is until you try it!

Panna Cotta
Panna cotta in Italian means "cooked cream" and comes from the Northern region of Piedmont in Italy. The version uses buttermilk in place of cream which adds a nice tangy flavour to the custard.


Anonymous said...

I have to say that this is the best eggplant recipe I've ever come across... I cooked today just one eggplant, and it's all gone, even dinner was skipped and replaced by this antipasto recipe, but I intend tomorrow to get a bunch of eggplants and reproduce the recipe and store in jars this delicious food!


Melody Wey said...

Funny! And yes, this is an amazingly good recipe. You can eat many, many eggplants using this recipe because it's just so good. Thanks for sharing:) Melody