Nici Wickes roast day recipe: Roasted eggplants

By Nici Wickes

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Nici Wickes
Nici Wickes

Versions of this dish have been known to make priests faint it's that good. A perfect roast for vegetarians or as a side dish for a main meal.

Wine match: Selaks Reserve Hawke's Bay Merlot Cabernet

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50-60 minutes

Serves: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

4 medium eggplants

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup olive oil

2 large onions (red or brown), peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 tsp each of salt and ground black pepper

1/2 tsp brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 to 1 cup water

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180C.

Trim any stalks off the eggplants, then, using a small knife or potato peeler, peel off strips of the skin lengthways, leaving alternate strips of skin and exposed flesh. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a pan and fry each of the eggplants, turning so they brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan, to a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook gently for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, cook for a further 2 minutes, then add tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until it reduces and deepens in colour - about 10 minutes.

Pack the eggplants into an ovenproof dish so they fit snugly. Cut a slit in each eggplant, (not all the way through) and spoon some of the onion and tomato sauce inside each cavity. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture on top.

Mix the sugar, lemon juice and water and pour this around the eggplants until it almost covers them.

Cover the dish with a lid or double layer of foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the eggplants are tender, even collapsing.

Remove the lid or foil, add grated Parmesan and bake for 10-15 minutes more until the juices are reduced and syrupy and the top is golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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