Easter egg(plant)s

First and foremost, Happy Easter!

Usually, I find myself making sweets or desserts when I have family over for special occasions. So this time, it was all about the savory dishes (although sweets were also made)!

I present to you Easter eggplants: a reconstructed ratatouille.

For presentation’s sake, I bought mini eggplants to serve as a vessel to serve them. They are so adorable and entirely edible.

These mini eggplants contain a trifle of eggplant compote, caramelized onions and a pepper and zucchini hash. They can absolutely be served in an oven-safe dish or in any vegetable of choice. So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Eggplant gratin

Easter eggplant (serves 4):

Eggplant compote:

Ingredients:

  • 1 black Italian eggplant
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • *4 mini eggplants

*If you are making the mini eggplants

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and score flesh in a grid-like way. Place garlic cloves in the slits.  Drizzle 1 tsp. olive oil on both halves. Close the eggplant, with the thyme between the halves and wrap tightly in foil. Bake in oven for 55 mins to 1:20h. The inside should no longer be white.
  3. Scoop out the flesh into a pot, discarding the seeds. Blend into a smooth paste with an emulsion blender (handheld blender). Dry the mixture over the stove until it thickens.
  4. Season as desired and add the remaining olive oil (the oil is used to improve the “mouthfeel” and to make it more smooth).

* Follow the same instructions, leaving them 45-50mins in the oven. Remove the insides and keep the skin of the eggplant to serve.

**You can use the regular eggplant’s skin in the compote, however you have to chop it into small dices before blending. The color of the compote will subsequently be much darker.

Caramelized onions:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 50 g butter or fat of choice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Slice onions thinly.
  2. In a pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Season.
  3. Allow the onions to caramelize. If the sugars at the bottom of the pan develop too rapidly, scrape them with a wooden spoon after adding a few tablespoons of cold water to deglaze the pan.
  4. When the onions are halfway to a compote state, they should be ready.

Vegetable hash:

Ingredients:

Follow the instructions here.

  • Dismiss the onion and garlic in that recipe
  • Add 3 tbsp chopped kalamata olives

Method:

  1. Follow the recipe from step 4 and forward and dismiss step 6.
  2. Season lightly, as the olives are very salty. And finish with the olives.

Assembly:

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. On a cooking tray, place the mini eggplant shells. Fill 1/3 with eggplant compote, then the caramelized onion and finally the vegetable medley.
  3. Grate the parmesan overtop.
  4. Place in oven for 10 mins. Finish by broiling the cheese at the surface.
  5. Serve warm.

Alternatively, this can be prepared in an oven-proof dish.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Layer eggplant compote, then caramelized onions, the vegetable hash and finally the cheese.
  3. Place in oven for 20 mins. Finish by broiling the cheese at the surface.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

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