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.
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!
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.
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.
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)
Fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other similar hard cheese
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 175 C/350 F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Grate cheese over the eggs and serve warm.
* * *
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
Fresh ground black pepper
- 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.
- 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.