Eggplant aka. Aubergine baked in the oven

Okay, we need to establish a few things here. I know that this vegetable is called Eggplant in many english speaking countries, but I have to agree with Sara B. from My New Roots eggplant simply sounds unappealing, whereas Aubergine seems like an exotic and (for danish people at least) a far more well known name. So for now here at A Tasty Love Story they will be called AUBERGINES.
As mentioned  earlier Aubergine is one of my absolute favorite vegetables. It’s a no-go to eat it raw, but as soon as you cook it it becomes this tender, soft and very tasty vegetable. You can bake it, grill it, fry it and even boil it then mash it and fry it (a Philippine traditional dish) and it will end up being wonderful no matter what!

I often bake my aubergines in the oven with some sort of topping, and here you can vary a lot if you feel like it. The other day when my fridge felt kind of empty and I had big time aubergine-cravings, I magically came up with this recipe and I have made it quite a few times since then. For this recipe I used Ajvar which is a Balkan spread/sauce which is primarily made out of aubergines, red peppers, onion and garlic. It is really tasty and spicy and there’s something nice about the thought of adding aubergine on top of aubergine.
You can make ajvar yourself or you can buy some nice alternatives in a jar. I have not yet made Ajvar myself but there are plenty of recipes out there, take this one for example. I promise you I’ll go crazy ajvar-making in the kitchen some day soon and share the results with you, but for now I went with my yummy organic jar alternative. Besides the ajvar I added serrano ham and parmesan along with a few slices of sweet and summer fresh tomatoes, since these are some of my absolute favorite ingredients and always available in my kitchen. On the side I had some homemade bread and garlic & basil oil which fitted perfectly with the italian topping theme (with a twist of balkan autumn, smile).

Oven baked aubergines
Serves 4
2 aubergines
4 slices of serrano ham
1,5 cup/4 dl ajvar (can be substituted with a spicy tomato sauce)
a piece of parmesan cheese
4 medium sized tomatoes

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C
2. Cut each aubergine in half lengthwise. Score across the flesh on a 45° angle and then repeat in the other direction to achieve a diamond pattern (this allows the steam to escape). Top each aubergine with ajvar and tomato slices and bake in the oven for 20 min.
3. While aubergines are in the oven make the garlic & basil oil
4. Then remove aubergines from  the oven, add a few slices of parmesan cheese and one piece of serrano ham to each aubergine and bake 20 more minutes in the oven, until they look nicely roasted and done.
5. Let the aubergines cool for a few minutes and sprinkle with some garlic & basil oil. Serve with bread and fresh spinach leaves.

Garlic & basil oil
Makes about 0,5 cup
0,5 a cup good olive oil, preferably one with a nutty and mild flavor
A generous handful of fresh basil leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper

Directions:
1. In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients and blend on high until smooth.
2. Adjust taste with salt, pepper and garlic.

Enjoy!

  1. ClaireClaire08-28-2012

    Just finished eating this and it was amazing! The flavours work so well together. This will definitely be a regular for me from now on. Thanks for such a fantastic recipe!

    • Josephine MaleneJosephine Malene08-28-2012

      I am so pleased to hear that! It’s one of my favourites as well, and you are very welcome :)
      /Josephine

  2. bojanabojana05-08-2013

    wonderfull recipe, and i was surprised to see ajvar in it. i am macedonian and ajvar is a staple in our cuisine. i’m sure it goes well with baked aubergines, i have to make this soon.

    • Josephine MaleneJosephine Malene05-08-2013

      Yeah Ajvar is a bit rare here up in the north. But I met it a few years back in a chicken soup, and I have absolutely loved it ever since ;)

  3. AnnaAnna05-23-2013

    Aubergine sounds way better than Eggplant!
    Where I live (Mexico) they’re called Berenjena, and where I’m from (Italy) they’re called Melanzane.
    Anyway, this looks delicious, gotta try it!
    Today I made them this way: I cut slices and made rolls, filled with a mix of Feta cheese, egg and pistacchio (little bit of milk for blending it better if you’re having a difficult time), you should try it :)
    Sorry if my english is bad…
    Xoxo

    • Josephine MaleneJosephine Malene05-26-2013

      Mmmm, that sounds great. I actually just made a post with zucchini roll ups with filling, I love this combo an it is a great way to have vegetables :) I will definitely try your version with aubergine too..

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