Eggplants O’Plenty

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Let me introduce you to my newest cookbook, Plenty.  My love for this cookbook knows no bounds, from the beautiful pictures on almost every page, to the pleasantly squishy cover.  The night it arrived for me in the mail I actually read it in bed before going to sleep.  I’ve never read a cookbook in bed before and it felt a little weird at first, but that’s how much I love this cookbook.

I first encountered Yotam Ottolenghi when Heidi Swanson featured his recipe for Eggplant and Mango with Soba Noodles on her blog.  Two things you should know about me: 1) I am absolutely crazy for eggplant. 2) I am absolutely crazy about putting fruit in savory dishes.  So eggplant and mango in a dish together?  Sold!  I tried it, I loved it, and I knew I had to learn more about this Ottolenghi character.  (By the way, his Eggplant & Mango recipe is on pg. 112 of Plenty.)

What else can I say about this cookbook?  He has an entire chapter devoted to eggplant.  His blurbs about each recipe are short and entertaining.  I should probably mention that while he is not a vegetarian, all of the recipes in this cookbook are vegetarian, but all can certainly be tweaked to differing tastes.  In his introduction he talks a bit about why he writes a vegetarian column despite the fact that he eats meat, and people’s different motivations for choosing more pragmatic diets.

For this recipe, Ottolenghi asks Italians to forgive him for swapping cilantro for the traditional basil in this dish.  I had a lot of the eggplant and salsa leftover after making this recipe, and so the next day I layered them with some mozzarella on good bread spread with pesto, and the cilantro and basil complemented each other very well.

Eggplant Tricolore (and more)
  • 3 medium eggplants
  • olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 3/8-inch dice
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp capers, plus 1 tbsp of the caper brine
  • 5 oz top-quality buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 cup picked coriander leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the eggplants widthways into 3/4-inch-thick slices.  Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush them generously on both sides with plenty of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft and golden brown.  Allow to cool down.

Mix together the bell pepper, tomatoes, vinegar, capers and brine, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Set aside for at least 30 minutes (the mix can be kept refrigerated for several days; the flavors will deepen over time).

To serve, arrange the eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, on a serving dish.  Break the mozzarella into large chunks and scatter on top.  Spoon over the yellow pepper salsa and finish with the cilantro.

Serves 4
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2 responses

  1. This is my favorite cookbook ever, and I not only read it in bed (it’s totally food porn), but I’ve made more than half the recipes at least twice. I got to meet Yotam at a dinner last year, and he was so charming! Love that you guys are into him too. 🙂

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