Roasted Eggplant With Basil and Feta
2 28-ounce cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 medium Italian eggplants
6 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise
8 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, small dice
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
4 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the canned tomatoes into a sieve over a large bowl and allow to drain for a minimum of 30 minutes.
2. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Use the tip of a paring knife to score the cut side of the eggplants on a bias, moving diagonally across the flesh. Repeat the process, slicing in the opposite direction, to create a crosshatched pattern.
3. Generously season the scored side of the eggplants with salt. Face the eggplants cut side down on a sheet tray with a wire rack to drain for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the excess water to leach out from the eggplants, removing moisture and bitterness. Pat off the excess water with a paper towel. Poke 4 to 6 garlic clove halves into the score marks of each eggplant half. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each eggplant half. Finish seasoning with 3 to 4 twists of freshly cracked black pepper.
4. Place two large cast-iron pans on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each. When the oil is smoking, add the eggplants cut side down. Sear 3 to 5 minutes, or until the eggplants turn a dark golden brown on the cut side. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and easy to remove from the skin and* the eggplants have reduced in size. Remove them from the pans and rest for at least 5 minutes, until the eggplants are cool enough to handle.
5. Use a large metal spoon to scoop the cooked eggplant from the skins. Place the flesh on the cutting board, and mince the eggplant and roasted garlic to make a paste.
6. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the diced onion, and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil if the onions seem dry or start to color.
7. Add the eggplant, and use a wooden spoon to stir the eggplant and onions together. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the freshly grated ginger, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until a good amount of moisture has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.
8. Stack the basil leaves, roll them into a tight log shape, and slice along the width to chiffonade. Turn the basil 90 degrees and slice through three times for a rough chop. Add the basil to the pan, and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 1 more minute.
To plate + garnish
1. Transfer the eggplant mixture to two 20-ounce serving bowls.
2. Finish with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with micro sorrel.
Masterclass - Gordon Ramsay II