bits and pieces

Monday, July 29, 2013

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Tart

UGH. Weekends.

Ideally they should be full of fun and outdoors-y time. Unfortunately for me, this last weekend was full of house chores and putting together of cheap ikea-esque furniture. Fun and outdoorsy it was NOT. I am currently sitting on my couch, post weekend, feeling like I just ran 10 k, but without the sense of accomplishment and general exercise-ery.

Looking ahead to what will be a full and busy week, I am very glad I thought ahead and planned my menu for the week. Monday's are always an important day as my lunch and dinner tend to be trend setting for the week. Tuesday night is my sweet pie's 27th birthday, and as such we will be cooking 2 1/2 inch thick steaks and lobsters. A light dinner it will not be. So in planning for Monday I wanted to make something nice, kind of fancy to say 'Good work you, you deserve this' (because I do), but also something different from the usual to push myself outside of my comfort zone a bit.

Apparently, that means eggplant. Now I know eggplant is great and awesome and all that but I HATE it. Well maybe not hate, but I generally only eat it to be polite. However, I saw a recipe for an eggplant and tomato quiche and thought hmm... I love tomatoes... so what other tasty things could I add to ensure that I will love this despite the eggplantiness of it all? Caramelized onions, chevre, and fresh basil? Yep. Things were going to get tasty-pastry. And was it ever. The eggplant mix alone was to die for. It tasted like rich, earthy alfredo sauce somehow. AN ALFREDO SAUCE PIE. MADE OF EGGPLANT. So, so good.

I added 1/3 of a cup of sour cream after reading some other eggplant pie recipes, but I think next time (and there will be a next time) I'll leave this out as the eggplant was a little soft for my liking.

Now this recipe is actually really easy but it takes a couple steps. If you're pressed for time, I recommend roasting the eggplants the night before and leaving them in your fridge. This will turn an hour long process into a 20 minute one :)

2 Chinese eggplants (the loooooong ones.. they're less bitter)
1/2 tsp of coriander seeds (optional)
1/8 tsp of fennel seeds (optional)
about 4 oz of chevre
1/3 cup of sour cream (optional)
1 onion, sliced and caramelized
1 pie shell
2 roma tomatoes sliced and diced
salt and pepper
fresh basil for garnish
some olive oil

other things you will need:
knives for a' slicin' 
cutting board for your choppin'
a food processor or blender to pulverize your roasted eggy-plant
a mixin' spoon

  1. Turn your oven on to 400 degrees. 
  2. Rub your eggplants with a bit of olive oil and roast for 40 minutes. I roasted mine whole, but you can slice them in half, oil them, and roast them that way to shorten the process a bit. 
  3. While your eggplant is cooking, caramelize your onion. For those uninitiated to the ways of caramelized onions: welcome. Slice your onion and heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium. Toss your onion in and stir to coat. Sprinkle with some salt, stir and leave on the heat. The salt causes your onions to 'sweat' out all the naturally occurring sugars. If you have a big pot lid, throw it on top of your frying pan (even if it doesn't totally fit) and turn your heat down to medium low and walk away. Stir every 7 minutes or so until your onions are yellowy and translucent. This will take about 15-20 minutes depending on your stove. Once my onions are done, I always crank the heat and then throw in a little balsamic so it sizzles and absorbs into the onions. But that's just me. 
  4. Once your eggplant is done, remove and set aside until cool. 
  5. While your eggplant is cooling, bake your pie crust for about 10 minutes and remove from heat.
  6. Once it's reasonable enough to handle, peel it, toss the peel, and puree your eggplant in your food processor/blender. Process until smooth, add a pinch of salt, your fennel and coriander (if you're using them), chevre, and sour cream and then blend away. I threw in the fennel and coriander for a hint of je ne sais quoi. And while I've never made this before and can't attribute it's deliciousness to the spices or just the dish, I like to think they helped. But that said - if you don't have an entire indian spice cupboard, don't bother going out to buy coriander just for this. Although if you do - you can use it up making tasty, tasty homemade samosas
  7. Get ready to make a pieeeee. 
  8. In the bottom of your pie shell, place all your eggplant. Top it with your onions, and top them with your tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, and roast for about 10-15 minutes. 
  9. Leave your pie for 15-30 minutes to allow it to set. If you don't, you will end up with sloppy sloppy pie. It still tastes delicious, but it is no where near as pretty. Top with fresh basil, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and eat. 

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