Eggplant with roasted cherry tomatoes, olives and crunchy chickpeas


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I’m pretty certain that eggplant can be cooked in any form with as little done to it and it will always maintain it’s beauty. Recently spending weeks eating fried eggplant with honey (thanks to Andalucian tapas bars), I thought it would be quite nice just to bake a whole eggplant and do the minimum. Especially considering that this recipe was created with Harris Farm Markets and their Imperfect Picks…produce that normally doesn’t hit the shelves of supermarkets. Those tiny scratches, natural shapes and sizes look even better to me, and I think they do to a lot of other people too…just as I was picking up the produce from their imperfect picks section, a lovely lady said to me..”what a brilliant idea”! I couldn’t agree with her more.

Since I’ve come back from Europe (2 weeks) I really wanted to make a blog post about my favourite food memories over the last 2 months travelling from east to west in Europe, every experience has stayed with me and I’m going to put these down into text. One of those experience I will briefly elaborate on…

On our honeymoon we drove to the west coast of Morocco. We stayed in the most gorgeous beldi chic property… Villa Anouk. It was like a dream there. When we arrived, we were greeted with the most welcoming owners and they quickly set up a lunch table just for us. Shortly after the feast began…I honestly had the best tagine of my life. It was a simple chicken, olive and potato tagine. Cooked with so much love and skill, the smell, texture, flavour was incredible. I can still remember the flavour of the green olives and their caramelised skin on the base of the tagine that reminded me of that perfect paella that has a golden caramelised crust known as socarrat although in this tagine, it was the olives and the juices from the spices and sauce that made that crust.

So below is a recipe that has some of my favourites…beautiful eggplant, green olives, cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. I hope you try it out! I’ve also made a quick video showing the recipe, my first one! And now I can’t wait to experiment with more videos (check these out on my instagram and facebook).

Recipe: Eggplant, roasted cherry tomatoes and olives, crunchy chickpeas

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2 as a side

Ingredients:

1 Imperfect Picks eggplant

2 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes

1 cup of passata

1 cup of green olives (or olives of your choice pitted/unpitted)

1 can of chickpeas

1 bunch of parsley

olive oil

salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Start by preparing the crunchy chickpeas for roasting. Drain the liquid from the can, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly and dry with a tea towel. Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet and spread out the chickpeas evenly in 1 layer, use a larger baking tray for this. Cover the chickpeas in olive oil and salt (not too much olive oil). Roast the chickpeas for 45 minutes or until dark golden brown.
  3. Place the whole eggplant on a baking tray and brush the entire surface with olive oil. Then place the eggplant tray into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Prepare the tomato and olive base. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place onto a baking tray. Add the olives (see note) and passata, then top with salt, and olive oil. Mix everything through together. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the parsley stems and save for future use (see note). Chop the fresh parsley and set aside.
  6. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and add extra salt. Allow to cool.
  7. Serve by placing a bed of the cherry tomato and olive sauce on the base of a large wide plate. Place the eggplant on top, and scatter the crunchy chickpeas around. Finish by sprinkling some of the fresh parsley and fine sea salt around the plate.

Notes:

– Use your preferred olives, you might like to buy pitted olives or pit them yourself. In this recipe I’ve used whole Sicilian olives because I love the texture that they maintain and the form that they keep.

– Use the left over parsley stems to make a chicken or vegetable stock, or even finely sliced and mixed through a pesto or green salad.

Created for Harris Farm Markets

Categories
Mains Sides