from one generation to the next
I’m experiencing a different kind of seasonal transition than what I’m accustomed to. Until this year, travel aside, I’d spent my entire life in Melbourne, in a temperate climate where by April, autumn had a firm icy grip, where I’d have begun to wear jeans and a jumper by now and at night be sleeping under a layer of thick blankets to keep the cold at bay.
In Brisbane, the days are yet to drop below 30C and the humidity is hovering around 70%. I’m still sleeping under a whirring ceiling fan. I’m longing to feel a chill in the air, although there is an upside to my personal climate change, autumn produce is still plentiful, good and cheap. Eggplants, tomatoes and red capsicums are sitting cheek by jowl with celeriac, kohlrabi, and chard in the greengrocer’s display, an unexpected bonus.
This wonderfully simple but robust eggplant recipe landed into my FB feed from ”Dish” magazine, a terrific publication out of New Zealand to which I subscribe. It’s typical of the recipes they publish, big on achievable wow factor in the taste stakes and most importantly for me, easily adapted to dietary restrictions.
Sicilian Baked Eggplants
2 large firm eggplants, the purple oval variety
4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 cup robust olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons capers
zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1 cup thick natural yoghurt
Preheat oven to 170C fan forced. Line a shallow ovenproof dish with baking paper.
Wash the eggplants and cut in half lengthwise, then lay them flat side down and slit each half lengthwise into 5 thick pieces leaving them at the stem end.
Lay the eggplant halves, skin side down on the baking tray and fan out the slices. Season the eggplant fans with salt, pepper and oregano.
Lay a sliced tomato on top of each.
Whisk together the oil, vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then spoon over the eggplants.
Bake for about 1 hour, basting with juices every 15 minutes. The eggplants should be very soft and the juices well caramelised.
Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Mix together the topping ingredients.
Dollop thick yoghurt over the eggplants then scatter over the topping.
Serve with crusty sourdough and greens.