Eggplant (aubergine) is one of my favourite vegetables, I could seriously eat it every day. It’s the star ingredient of baba ganoush but you’ve most likely sampled it in a rich Indian curry or a savoury tomato pasta. It’s a gem of a vegetable and when cooked well brings so many hearty flavours & textures to a dish. Perfect if you’re going meat-free.
This recipe is currently my favourite way to cook eggplant. I marinate the flesh with a warming harissa paste then bake it in the oven until the outside is golden and the flesh turns melt in your mouth tender and serve it alongside a crisp fennel and citrus salad. It’s bursting with flavour and much easier to prepare than it looks as the oven does all the hard work. I make it on days when I feel like I need a break from starchy foods as its a bit of a lighter meal but is still flavourful enough to comfort you on chilly winter nights.
Harissa Roasted Eggplant + Fennel Salad
Serves – 4 Prep – 15 min Cook – 35min Difficulty – medium
2 medium eggplants
3 long red chillies
1 1cm knob of ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon each cumin/coriander
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt + pepper
1 Bulb of fennel
1 can of chickpeas or 400g cooked chickpeas
1 small bunch of mint & parsley
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
pinch of salt + pepper
Start by preheating your oven to 180c. Next roughly chop the chilli, ginger and garlic. Add to a food processor along with the spices, olive oil, salt & pepper. Blend into a smooth paste about 1-2 minutes.
Halve your eggplant lengthways then score the flesh of each half in diagonal lines to form a diamond pattern. Be mindful not to cut your eggplant to early because the flesh can oxidise and turn an unflattering shade of brown.
Rub the harissa paste onto the flesh of the eggplant trying to get it in between the score marks you made earlier.
Place the eggplants on a tray harissa side up and bake in the oven for 25 -30 min until the flesh is soft and the top is golden brown.
While your eggplants are baking start to prepare your salad by thinly slicing the fennel. Next, peel the oranges and cut into segments. Drain & rinse the chickpeas. Finely chop the parsley & mint. Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper toss to combine. Set aside.
Once the eggplant is cooked remove from the oven & drizzle with tahini. Serve on a platter or individual plates with the fennel salad & lemon wedges.