Oven Baked Eggplant with Olives, Capers and Basil
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 1-pound eggplants
  • Sea salt
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • ⅓ cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, drained from brine
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 to 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. With the tip of a knife, score the flesh deeply in a diamond cross-hatch pattern by making two or three long cuts, cutting at a steep angle, and then rotating the eggplant to make another set of similar cuts. Press on the edges of the halves to open the cuts and sprinkle salt (1 to 1-1/2 tsp. total for all the halves) over the surface and into the cuts. Set aside, cut side up, for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  3. Over the sink, gently squeeze the eggplant to extract the salty juice and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  4. Insert the slices of garlic into the cuts of the eggplant. Brush each half thoroughly with olive oil (about 2 teaspoons per half.)
  5. Arrange each half, cut side down, on top of a sprig or two of thyme on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes until super tender and almost collapsing. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  6. In a pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Add the garlic, capers, and crushed red pepper and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  7. Transfer the onion mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the olives, lemon juice and basil. Season with pepper to taste and serve on top of the eggplant.
Other options for topping the eggplant are 5-minute cherry tomato sauce, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, or tahini sauce with pomegranate seeds.
Recipe by Pamela Salzman at https://pamelasalzman.com/oven-baked-eggplant-with-olives-capers-and-basil-recipe/