I am a modest eggplant fan. I like it when I prepare it at home but always omit it when ordering tempura at Japanese restaurants. If you are my friend, you know that I am very specific how I like my food. For me it is all about texture, the size of the ingredient and keeping things pretty simple.
I don’t cook eggplant often but when my friend, Ilene, confirmed that this was a worthy recipe in one of my favorite books, Simple by Ottolenghi, I ran to the market after our 4 mile walk and whipped this up for lunch. It’s probably one of the best things I have made in a while. The eggplant is creamy, the lentlls are crunchy, the tomatoes pop in your mouth and the little bit of lemon is the perfect ending. This is now officially part of my food arsenal and cannot wait to make it for friends!
And it’s super duper easy. If you don’t own this book – you should. To check it out, click here. I am starting to cook from this book often so always check out my Instagram profile and stories here. Let’s inspire one another – bite by bite!
Puy Lentils, Eggplant, Tomatoes + Ottolenghi Recipe
4 eggplants, pricked a few times with a knife (2 lb 6 oz/1.1kg)
10 oz/300g cherry tomatoes
¾ cup/160g Puy lentils (or 4 2/3 cups/350g ready-cooked lentils, if you want to save time)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp basil leaves (original used Oregano – I didn’t have it)
salt and black pepper
6 tbsp/100g Greek-style yogurt(optional – I wanted mine to be vegan)
• preheat the oven to 475°F or as high as your oven will go.
• place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, turning them over halfway through, until the flesh is completely soft and slightly smoky. remove from the oven and, once cool enough handle, scoop the flesh out into a colander. set aside, in the sink or over a bowl, for 30 minutes, for any liquid to drain away. the skin can be discarded.
• place the cherry tomatoes on the same baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes, until slightly blackened, split, and soft. remove from the oven and set aside.
• meanwhile, if starting with uncooked lentils, fill a medium saucepan with plenty of water and place over high heat. Once boiling, add the lentils, decrease the heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes, until soft but still retaining a bite. drain, then set aside to dry out slightly. If starting with ready-cooked lentils, just tip them into a large bowl and add the eggplant flesh, tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, garlic, 2 tbsp of oregano, ¾ tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper. mix well, then spoon into a large shallow bowl.
• (optional) top with the yogurt, swirling it through slightly so there are obvious streaks. sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of oregano over the top, drizzle with a little oil, and serve.