I am currently on a mission to expand the vegetable dishes in our regular family repertoire, both sides and mains. This is partly because I am always on the lookout for new and interesting things to feature here and also partly because our regular fallback options of steamed greens and carrots, boiled corn and mashed potato are boring me witless. I am also pushing the darling daughters to expand their horizons by trying new things, which means putting things on their plate that they think they won't like, and getting them to try it. (Note to all mothers reading - I am not pretending that this is a simple process - "wearing them down" is my best advice, and it is a s-l-o-w process.) My green friend Patty would also approve.
Eggplant has a bad reputation in some circles. I know people who have never tried it because they find the colour and / or texture is off-putting. My advice to them is to close your eyes and give it a try. Once cooked, eggplant is delicious, and according to eatingwell.com, "it is also a very good source of fibre, potassium, folate and magnesium, plus a cup of cooked eggplant has a mere 27 calories." It is also a good source of antioxidants. Paired here with tomatoes, roasted capsicum and eggplant, it is fantastic. This dish was just delicious, and I would happily eat it any time as a side or as an entree. And by the way, both girls ate some capsicum. We have a bit further to go on the eggplant.
Eggplant, Tomato and Goats Cheese Sandwich
adapted from "Plates" by Lyndey Milan
1 red capsicum
olive oil for brushing
1 large tomato
50g goats cheese
Cut the capsicums into quarters, remove seeds and membranes, then grill (broil) skin side up until the skin is blackened. Remove from the griller and put in a plastic bag, to sweat while they cool down. Once they are cool, removing the skins should now be very easy.
Slice the eggplants thickly, into 8 slices. Sprinkle with salt and leave in a colander to drain for an hour or so. Rinse the salt off, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a frying pan to medium high. Brush both sides of each eggplant slice with oil and fry until brown on both sides. (Do not add oil to the pan - the eggplant will mop it up and you don't need it. The brush of oil is enough).
Slice the tomatoes thickly into four slices. Place four eggplant slices on a baking try. Top with a tomato slice, then spread each tomato slice generously with goats cheese. Top the sandwich with another slice of eggplant. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes. Serve with the sliced capsicum and a dollop of pesto.