Eggplant and Eggs

15 10 2008

You could say that I eat a lot of eggplant, and you would not be wrong.  I am going to miss it in the coming months, so I thought I’d give it one last hurrah before being replaced in my pantry by winter squashes and mushrooms.  I bought one while Nick was gone and ate half of it roasted, on a pizza with an improvised roasted garlic tomato sauce. 

Browning diced eggplant

Cooking for one almost always means leftovers, so the other half of the eggplant and the remaining tomato sauce languished in the fridge for several days, since I had used the last of the pizza dough and wasn’t really inspired to do anything else with them.  In an attempt to clean out the fridge, I noticed that I had some eggs that needed to be eaten.  Below them, lying forgotten in the vegetable drawer, was the leftover half-eggplant.  Eggs, eggplant… they must go together!  But what will bring them into perfect harmony?  Aha!  Roasted garlic tomato sauce!

Ragout/Ragù

I fashioned a ragoût using the eggplant and a shallot (I was actually running low on onions, plus I just wanted a subtle hint of onion flavor, so a shallot fit the bill nicely).  I seasoned it with red pepper flakes and oregano, and thought that an anchovy would be a nice touch if I had one.  Not wanting to dirty an extra dish, I scooped the eggplant directly into my serving bowl, dug a little well, and cracked an egg into it.  Covered with foil, it went straight into the oven to bake.

I couldn't have cooked that egg more perfectly, if I do say so myself.

It took a little longer than I expected, but the result was every bit as satisfying as I had hoped.  The last few slices of a loaf of whole wheat bread from Véronique Mauclerc were the perfect accompaniment.

Eggplant and Eggs on Toast

And because I think this is definitely worth recreating in your own kitchen, I’ve written down the recipe for you.  Aren’t I sweet?

Eggplant Ragout with Baked Eggs 

1 eggplant, diced small
Coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1 anchovy fillet, minced (optional)
1 recipe Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce (see below)
2 eggs
Fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other similar hard cheese

  1. Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt.  Let it drain for 30 minutes to an hour, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat oven to 175 C/350 F.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add eggplant and cook without stirring for 3-5 minutes, until eggplant is browned on one side. 
  4. Add shallots and season with black and red pepper.  If you’re using dried oregano, put that in now, too.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender.
  5. Add tomato sauce, anchovy, and fresh oregano (if you’re lucky enough to be using it).  Simmer 5-10 minutes until thickened slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  6. Divide the ragout into two shallow ovenproof bowls.  Make a well in the center of each bowl and crack an egg into each well.  Cover the bowls with foil and bake until egg white is set and yolk is soft, 20-25 minutes.
  7. Grate cheese over the eggs and serve warm.

 Serves 2.

* * *

Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce 

1 head garlic
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
200 g/ 7 oz. tomato purée
1 tsp. rosemary red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch sugar

  1. To roast the garlic, heat the oven to 160 C/ 325 F.  Cut the top off the garlic to expose the cloves.  Place on a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap the foil around the garlic to create a secure packet (you won’t want to lose any of that delectable garlic-perfumed oil later).  Bake until the kitchen has the mouthwatering aroma of roasted garlic and the garlic is browned and soft, about an hour or so.  Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Squeeze the roasted garlic into a bowl along with its accompanying oil and mash with a fork until smooth.  Stir in the tomato purée and vinegar and season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar.

 Makes about 250 g/ 1 cup.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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5 responses

15 10 2008
jodycakes

That sounds so good. I love that you are so crafty with the leftovers.
Think I might make that roasted garlic sauce tonight – I sometimes just throw a head of garlic in the oven when I am at home for future uses…or just on crusty bread for a snack.

16 10 2008
Andrea

You are sweet! That looks great. Have I ever told you how much I love baked eggs? Because I do. They make everything seem more decadent. I used to hate eggplant (some bad experiences when I lived with a house of nuns in Italy, don’t ask) but I’ve seen the error of my ways and am now a proud addict. This looks divine!

16 10 2008
Hopie

Looks good! I love those nights when there’s almost nothing in the fridge and you manage to get really creative with the ingredients you have and invent something good!

16 10 2008
croquecamille

Jody – Mmm, roasted garlic on bread.

Andrea – I’m a big baked egg fan, too. Still trying to convert my husband…

Hopie – I know, it makes you feel so clever! :)

28 10 2008
[eatingclub] vancouver || js

This is such an interesting eggplant dish: I love it that the eggplant are all cubed. From afar, it looks like potatoes! Have to try this soon. Thanks!




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