Tuesday, 13 December 2011

What came first, the Eggplant or the Egg?

Uova al Forno in Involtini di Melanzane con Pomodoro & Pepe
Baked Eggs in Eggplant Rolls with Tomato & Pepper Compote

Wouldn't it be funny to cook an egg in an eggplant, I thought as I walked home from work this evening. And being as I only have a few days left before I leave home for the holidays, and have to use up some last bits and pieces in my fridge- that was exactly what I did!

I started off by slicing the eggplant into thin slices lengthways and frying them in a very little olive oil until they were half-cooked and soft enough to roll. I set them to one side and then went about slicing up some green and yellow peppers, a little celery and some cherry tomatoes. These went into the frying pan next, along with a little crushed garlic and spring onion, and I sautéed them in a little olive oil with oregano, parsley, basil, nutmeg, salt, pepper and chili. After 3-4 minutes of frying, I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and carried on stirring for another minute or two, before deglazing the frying pan with a little water.

I let the sauce thicken on a slow simmer for 10 minutes and then started to put my little dish together. I rolled the eggplant together, using 2 slices at a time for each roll/serving. I set these into an ovenproof dish and then started to fill the spaces in-between with the tomato/pepper mixture. I made sure that some wet into the rolls, so that the egg would not stick to the bottom of the dish later. It is a bit tricky- but it is doable and it is worth it! Just keep pushing the rolls back into shape if they fall over- lift them back up with a spoon and calm down- you can do it! It's only food!

Now carefully crack an egg into each eggplant roll and transfer your little creation to the oven, preheated to 170°, for 20-30 minutes until the egg is set. Yes, strangely enough it does take that long, but it also gives the spicy tomato and pepper sauce to come back up to temperature- and gives you time to chop some parsley as a garnish and to have a drink... though not necessarily in that order!

Once the egg is set and everything is ready, sprinkle with salt, grind with fresh pepper and serve immediately with some ciabatta or crusty white bread... and enjoy!

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