Although our vacation in Greece was a long time ago, the ideas-recipes that inspired me there are still here with me. At the last minute, now that there still are eggplants on the market, be sure to try this recipe for baked eggplant with cheese, tomatoes and garlic. The Greeks really are good at vegetable dishes. It's great the way they combine feta cheese, oregano and olive oil in almost all of them ... I'm writing and craving for these specifically Greek flavors!
I improvised the roasted eggplant recipe - I combined several ideas gathered during the summer. I tested it on all my relatives and I assure you that it tastes the same as the authentic Greek one. Initially, I used to make the eggplants without the tomatoes. Last week, I cooked the tomato version - I'm glad that, in the end, I came up with the perfect recipe. The tomatoes complement all the flavors, but you can omit if you don't have any.
I used to say that these eggplants must be served immediately, hot. You should know that cold are also very good!
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Wash the eggplants and cut them in halves lengthwise.
You can leave the stem on, it's not edible, but the eggplant looks nice with a small tail :)
With the tip of the knife, make some slits in the flesh, as deeply as possible. Be careful not to cut the peel.
Sprinkle over with salt and oregano. If you press on the ends, the eggplants will open up, try to get some spices right in the middle, inside the cuts.
Sprinkle each eggplant half with a little olive oil.
This is what they look like - arrange in the oven sheet, seasoned side up.
But before placing them in the oven, turn them on the other side.
Place in the preheated oven at 200 C for 20-25 minutes.
Notice that after this time the eggplants soften and the cut side browns nicely.
With a spatula, turn them carefully on the other side.
While the eggplants are cooling, quickly crush the garlic cloves and mix with 2-3 tablespoons of water - we are making a kind of mujdei (Romanian garlic sauce).
Now press the flesh with a teaspoon.
Put as much garlic sauce as you can.
Arrange diced tomatoes on top - raw, simply cut and with the peel on.
With your fingers, crush the cheese and put as much as possible on each eggplant slice. No need to spare - the cheese is the star here.
Sprinkle with a little more olive oil on top. Some more oregano or ground pepper wouldn't be bad at all.
If you want the eggplants a little spicy, you can add some chili flakes.
Optionally, for a thin and reddish final crust - you can spread over very little grated yellow cheese.
It's also possible without.
Place the eggplant in the preheated oven at 200 C for about 15-20 minutes.
Don't bake for too long, just until the cheese melts and begins to brown - this way, it won't dry out and gets softer and creamier.
Immediately after baking, I recommend leaving them in the pan for about 10 minutes. They will chill down and suck up the cooking juices. Then, serve hot as such, or as a side dish, hot appetizer etc. Cold are good too...
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