Greek Baked Eggplant

Following our trip to Scotland we headed over to Greece for a week of sun - specifically Santorini and Mykonos. In my attempt to stay healthy while on holidays I ordered baked or grilled eggplant on a number of occasions. Each bite was a slice of heaven as I indulged in the flavours of the earthy eggplant and rich tomato sauce, swiftly followed by a sip of rose wine.

Sometimes the eggplants would come covered in cheese, whether it was parmesan or fetta (or both) and sometimes they would be topped with some fresh tomatoes, raw red onion and lettuce (you add vinegar and oil yourself).

The eggplants, tomatoes and absolutely EVERYTHING else grown in Greece (particularly from the volcanic soils of Santorini) were absolutely out of this world. Unfortunately I only had Aussie eggplants to contend with for my re-creation, none-the-less I think the result is still delicious.

Serve the eggplant with a basic Greek salad consisting of wedges of tomato, peeled and sliced cucumber, thinly sliced green capsicum, a few black olives, capers, small amount of cos lettuce, fetta, dried or fresh oregano and a splash of vinegar and olive oil.

What you need to serve 4 lucky people:
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 red or white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or a dash or white wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400 ml tins of organic chopped tomatoes (or around 8 very ripe fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Large handful of fetta, crumbled (goats or ordinary Greek fetta)
  • 1 tsp all spice (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges for serving
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped to serve
  • Salt and pepper to taste
How you make it:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C (or 180°C fan forced). Slice the eggplants in half length ways. Score the flesh on a 45 degree angle about 5 mm apart, then repeat going the other way making a diamond pattern on the eggplants. Brush the eggplants with olive oil on both sides, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft and golden in colour and the eggplant has started to collapse. 
  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over a low-medium temperature, add onion and garlic cloves and cook until soft. Add the white wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Once the wine has reduced add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, all spice and basil and simmer with the lid on the pot for around 20-30 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste once the sauce has thickened.
  • Once the eggplants are ready, spoon 1/4 of the tomato mixture onto each piece and put back into the oven for 10 minutes. 
  • If you are having fetta, sprinkle some on the eggplant at the end and put under a grill for a couple of minutes or until the fetta is soft and heated through. Drizzle the eggplants with olive oil and scatter some parsley once you have plated it up. Serve with a Greek salad or other salad of your choice.

Make it naughty: add some freshly grated parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese and quickly place under the grill during the last step of the recipe. Serve with some fresh bread to mop up the sauce and a glass of red wine like the Greeks do.

Notes: This dish is fantastic heated up the next day. Putting the sauce and cheese in the oven for 10 minutes at the end is optional - it still tastes amazing if you don't. Feel free to add some grated or finely chopped vegetables to the sauce towards the end of cooking e.g. zucchini or carrots