Welcome to the August 2021 Improv Cooking Challenge. This group is headed up by Nichole of Cookaholic Wife. And I haven't been very consistent, but I love the idea of the group, so I will try to be better in the coming months.
The idea behind Improv Cooking Challenge: we are assigned two ingredients and are challenged to create a recipe with those two things. This month's items: eggplants and tomatoes. Here's what the crew is sharing with those ingredients...
- Iranian Tepsi Baytinijan from Pandemonium Noshery
- Classic Moussaka from Palatable Pastime
- Fried Eggplant Curry from Sneha's Recipe
- Catalan Escalivada from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Mirza Ghasemi - Vegan Version by Magical Ingredients
- Eggplant and Tomato Tian by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Eggplant Prosciutto Caprese Panini from Cookaholic Wife
I decided to make Escalivada, a roasted vegetable dish that's typical from the regions of Cataluna and Aragon. Its name comes from a verb in Catalan that means "to roast in the embers." Escalivada is a simple dish that is served warm or room temperature with crusty bread and celebrates all the delicious produce that abounds in the summer months.
Ingredients serves 4
- 3 to 4 firm tomatoes
- 1 to 2 medium eggplants
- 6 small peppers or 2 medium peppers
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 1 red onion
- 1 head garlic
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- olive oil
- 1 to 2 jars anchovy fillets
- crusty bread for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Rinse and dry the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, and coat the cut side with olive oil; place them cut side down on the pan. Make small slits in the skin of the eggplants so they don't split open as they roast.
Slice the onions and tomatoes in half and place them, cut side down on the pan. Slice the top off the garlic and place it on the pan. Fit the peppers on the pan wherever you can squeeze them in.
Drizzle all vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Roast in oven for about 1 hour, checking the vegetables at 30 minutes. After an hour, the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic will likely be done. Remove those and return the eggplant to the oven until done.
To serve, cut roasted vegetables into strips and place them on a platter or tray with anchovy fillets. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with more olive oil. Escalivada is typically served room temperature with plenty of slices of bread.
I did read about some interesting variations I need to try: adding potatoes to the selection, swapping green onions for yellow, and splashing everything with vinegar before serving. Yum!