Romesco-baked eggplant

10 Oct

It is very likely you have not had romesco sauce. This is an opportunity to address that major oversight in your life.

We discovered romesco via a fabulous Spanish cookbook, The New Spanish Table, which has very little in the way of dishes without ham or fish. We used to whip out a dish of seabass and potatoes, baked in this sauce and alioli when we had friends to dinner, and this is our first attempt at making it veggie. Trying to think of what veg simulates seabass is a good way to accidentally lose 3 hours. In the end I’m thinking these flavours will go well with asparagus, eggplant and artichoke – nice absorbent veg and all rather Spanishy. But eggplant is the cheapest of the three, so thus it is.

This is my version of romesco with what we had in the house on a wet Sunday afternoon when I didn’t want to go outside.  You can use this as a dip, or a bit of a chutney. Also, it’s best prepared a day before eating.

Romesco sauce

  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes (properly dry, not in oil)
  • 1 dried ancho chili (this gives it the ‘proper’ flavour, but if you can’t find a Spanish chili, opt for a mild Indian one)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 4 tablespoons oatmeal (or use breadcrumbs)
  • 1.5 tsp sherry vinegar (very much not optional)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of hot paprika (I did without this, but I think it would be better with)

Soak the chili and sun-dried tomatoes in about 1/2 C hot water.

Heat oil in a pan. Add oatmeal, ground almonds and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, until they start to go a bit brown.

Add canned tomatoes, paprika and cayenne. Throw in sherry vinegar, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and de-seeded & chopped chili. Cook for about 15 minutes over low heat.

Romesco baked eggplant

  • 1 large potato, parboiled and sliced lengthwise into 1cm slices
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 2cm slices – lightly fried and oil drained off.
  • 1 portion of vegan mayonnaise (with an extra garlic clove crushed in)
  • 1/2 above portion of romesco sauce

In a 20cm diameter dish (just guessing, seems about right), layer potato, then eggplant. Top with romesco sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes in an oven at 200c.

Serve with vegan mayonnaise (turned alioli by an extra garlic clove crushed in) and/or with dressed green salad.

Estimated cost: £3.30

Musical accompaniment: Freelance Whales

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