Sunday, 12 September 2010

Aubergine cheesecake


Sounds bizarre, doesn't it? But when it comes from the pen (or rather, the keyboard, via the medium of Guardian Online) of the great Ottolenghi, one can't help but have faith. Faith did indeed pay off in this situation - the end result is delicious. A bit like a quiche, but without the pastry, and with the bonus of soft roasted aubergines and sharp tomatoes. 

Start by roasting two sliced aubergines with some oil and salt and pepper in a hot oven, until soft. Line an oven dish with oiled foil and arrange the aubergine slices across the bottom, filling the gaps with halved baby plum tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh oregano (do you know how rare it is for a recipe to specify fresh oregano?! And how annoying this is, given that it grows completely wild in our garden, an untapped resource begging to be exploited?!) Then make the cheesecake mixture: whisk three eggs with some feta, creme fraiche (Ottolenghi says cream, but I had an open pot of creme fraiche that needed using), ricotta (Ottolenghi says cream cheese, but again, I had ricotta in need of use) and black pepper, and pour this over the aubergines. Bake for about 40 minutes until set, then leave to cool until it can be cut into pieces. I skipped this step as I was too hungry, but it is still nice with a slightly molten interior.

I reckon this basic recipe would work with most things - oven-roasted tomatoes on the top would be delicious, as would roasted red and yellow peppers (might try that one soon actually), bacon and spinach, caramelised onions...Lovely. Some sort of base, like a sweet cheesecake, might be nice too - made out of melted butter and breadcrumbs. Definitely a recipe to tweak at some point. Not that the original isn't yummy, of course.

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