Charred eggplant with capers

“Gleaming skin; a plump elongated shape: the eggplant is a vegetable you’d want to caress with your eyes and fingers, even if you didn’t know its luscious flavor.” ~ Roger Verge

I cannot praise the delights of beautifully cooked eggplant more highly. The flesh is creamy and soft, and slightly smoky in flavour. And in this recipe the salty piquancy of pan fried capers and the earthy freshness of parsley bring even more joy to the palate. I made it as part of a mezze, but it stands alone as an addicitve vegetable accompaniment, or smashed onto toasted sourdough, or tossed through pasta or cous cous. As soon as we finished photographing this dish I found myself eating it straight from the bowl and had to be restrained from wolfing down the lot. Eggplant has a tendency to absorb an infinite amount of oil, but the way I have cooked it in this recipe allows for the fruity goodness of extra virgin olive oil to bless the eggplant without it being greasy or overpowering.

Serves 4 as part of a mezze or as an accompaniment

  • 800 g eggplant (aubergine) – about 2 medium sized
  • 80 ml good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 180 C. Slice the eggplants into 1 cm slices. Pour the olive oil onto a large baking tray. Take each slice of eggplant and quickly coat both sides with the olive oil and then place in a single layer on the tray. Season well with sea salt and then bake for 35 – 40 minutes in the oven until golden brown and a little charred around the edges. Meanwhile heat a non-stick pan over high heat, and a splash of olive oil and quickly fry the capers until they are crispy. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside. When the eggplant is cooked carefully turn over once to lightly glaze with any of the remaining oil and then place in a serving dish. Sprinkle with the parsley and capers and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.