Monday, 25 May 2015

Roasted aubergine with chili and herbs

Roasted aubergine with chili and herbs

Today I want to share a recipe that I made some time ago to cleanup the fridge from leftover aubergines, herbs and red chili and liked so much that I made it again several other times.
I literally hate wasting food, even a piece of stale bread, as I think it's a very bad habit, a sign of lack of respect for the environment, for the many people who have limited access to food, for the work of those people who produce our food and finally for our own money, because throwing food away is an indubitable waste of money. I know that the value of two slices of bread or an eggplant or a yogurt is very limited, but if we throw something every day at the end of the year we have probably wasted quite a good amount of food. And if every single family all around the world (at least the wealthier part) does the same, it's obvious that the wastage of food at a global level is a real and huge issue.

I don't want to be pedant here, but just say that leftovers or single pieces of vegetables sitting in our fridge or other products close to the expiry date can be easily transformed into something good, sometimes even better tasting than dishes planned in advance. This is the case of this recipe: I had a couple of aubergines, several bunches of herbs partially used for other dishes and a chili getting dry.
Roasted aubergine with chili and herbs

I had initially decided to grill the aubergines, sliced very thin, and toss them with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and herbs - the way my mother often prepares this summer vegetable.
But I was lazy that day and didn't feel like grilling - when you grill you have to turn every single piece to let them evenly roast and pay attention as 30 seconds can make the difference between a grilled eggplant and a burnt one. So I sliced the vegetables, brushed with olive oil and baked in the oven until brown and soft, just turning them once halfway through. In the meantime I decided that I didn't want to use raw garlic and chili and rapidly sautéed them in some extra virgin olive oil, before mixing with the chopped herbs (I used parsley, basil, fresh zaatar and oregano, but any combination you have on hand or you like works well). Then I spooned the mixture over the baked eggplant slices, arranged on a plate, added a splash of olive oil and served. We really loved the result and in fact, the following week, I made the dish again, this time on purpose, and since then I prepare it once in a while.

I like to serve it as an appetizer, along with other vegetables and of course bread, but it can also be served as a side dish for grilled fish or meat or even used to fill your sandwich.
A final recommendation: wait at least a couple of hours before serving, to give time to all the flavors to combine well.
Roasted aubergine with chili and herbs

Roasted aubergine with chili and herbs
serves 4
3 medium aubergines (eggplants), cut into slices 1,5 cm thick
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 mild red chile, seeded and finely chopped
6 tablespoon mixed chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, ...)
extra virgin olive oil 
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220° C. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, brush both sides with plenty of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 35 minutes, turning them halfway through, until they have a beautiful light brown color.
In the meantime make the herbs and chili marinade.
In a small pan heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the garlic and chili for few minutes, until the garlic turn lightly brown. Remove from the heat, let cool for a couple of minutes then add the mixed herbs, stirring to combine.
To serve, arrange the eggplant slices on a large plate, spoon the herb and chili marinade over them and leave at room temperature for 2 hours before serving (or you can store in the fridge for up to 2 days at this stage; make sure you don't serve cold so remove from the fridge at least one hour in advance). Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil just before serving.


  1. Absolutely loved this recipe Francesca! I love aubergines and make something similar.
    This is definitely on my to-try list!
    Thanx for sharing - Dev

  2. Thank you Dev! Aubergines are amazing...Glad you liked the recipe, let me know how it comes out if you try.

  3. That's my kind of leftovers!!!!