Today’s recipe is dedicated to all my eggplant-curious people, to the people that are still willing to try an aubergine centered dish, though they’re not so sure about it. I am convinced this recipe will help you fall in love with this very underrated ingredient.
We can all agree that eggplants are not the most loved vegetable in anyone’s kitchen. They have an interesting texture and a very distinctive flavor that’s definitely an acquired taste. That realization became clearer once I moved to the U.S. and tried to serve my guests an eggplant dip. The minute I said “eggplant”, everyone’s face went from “can’t wait to dig in” to “yikes, I think I’ll pass on that”. That said, once they actually tried it, everyone went in for second or third servings.
The key to making a friendlier eggplant-based dish, in my opinion, is learning how to pair it with the right supporting ingredients. I’m talking about ingredients like tomatoes, cheese, tahini, or mayo, that will highlight its natural smoky and sweet flavor, and balance out its bitter undertone.
Cheesy Eggplant Puff Pastry
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 65 mins
- 2 small eggplants (or 1 large eggplant)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- A pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 100 grams low-moisture mozzarella cheese
- 50 grams Parmesan cheese or Gruyère
- A small bunch of fresh parsley or basil, finely chopped
- 1 x 250 g (0.5 lb) sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed
- 1 whole egg, beaten
- Balsamic vinegar glaze, optional
- Set the oven to broil. Place the whole eggplants on a baking dish. Place them in the oven and broil for 45 minutes to an hour, flipping the eggplants every 10 to 15 minutes. The eggplant skin should be charred at the end.
Cover the hot baking dish with a plate, lid or any other dish. Set it aside for 10 minutes. The steam created in the dish will make peeling the eggplants easier. Peel the skin off the eggplants. Set the eggplant flesh on a cutting board. Roughly chop the eggplant, and add it to a mixing bowl.
- Add the shallot, garlic, black pepper, cayenne, coriander, extra-virgin olive oil, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, parsley, and a pinch of salt.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Place the cold puff pastry on the work surface. Roll the puff pastry to 0.5 cm or 1/6 inch thick. Cut the puff pastry sheet into 9 squares.
- Heat the oven to 375°F or 190°C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To form the pastry squares (if you don’t have time to do this pattern, feel free to add a dollop of the filling in the middle of the pastry and fold it in half, that will do the job just as well):
- cut a 1 cm border around the corners of the pastry square;
- lightly brush the border of the square with the beaten egg;
- spread a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar glaze in the middle of the pastry;
- add a dollop of eggplant mixture in the middle of the square;
- lift up one corner of the pastry and twist it onto itself;
- bring the twisted corner to the middle of the pastry;
- brush the pastry with more egg on top;
- repeat this process with the remaining three corners of the pastry.
- Sprinkle flaky salt in the middle of the pastry, where all the corners unite. Place the squares on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the puff pastry gets golden brown on top. All ovens are different, so make sure to keep an eye of the pastries and check on them halfway through.
- To store the pastry squares, place them in an air-tight container, in a dry spot at room temperature. If you have any leftovers, cook the squares in a dry, cast iron skillet for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom gets nice and crispy again. Bonus tip: if you have any leftovers, serve them with a fried egg on top for a delicious breakfast.