Baked Aubergine with Rustic Tomato Sauce & Rocket Salad

When I’ve been out working all day, I like to make something that doesn’t require much effort and isn’t too heavy, but gives me a nutrient boost.  I put together this recipe to fit the bill, and it certainly does!  It can be on the table in half an hour, but you only have to do about 15 minutes of actual work, so you can get on with other things, or just put your feet up for 10 minutes.  It’s great if you’re vegetarian, or have vegetarian guests too.  If you want to make it even more substantial, add a punnet of quartered mushrooms to the sauce when you add the tomatoes.

Sunblush tomatoes are different from sun dried, and in my opinion, much nicer.  You can get all sorts of flavours, but the standard variety is just fine.  You can get them in the chiller cabinet at supermarkets, where the olives and houmous are.  They are softer, milder and less salty that the sun dried variety, which makes them easier to handle, and more mellow to eat.

For 2 people:

Tomato-stuffed aubergine 2 Aubergines

1/2 tsp smoked Paprika

1 clove Garlic

250g Cherry tomatoes

1 pack Roasted tomatoes in oil (they may be called sun blush)

60g soft Goat’s Cheese

1 90g bag Rocket

1 Avocado

1/2 Cucumber

Seeds from 1/4 Pomegranate

Juice of 1/2 Lemon (optional)

  1. Scored auberginePreheat the oven to 180C.  Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise, so you have 4 boat shapes.  Score the aubergine halves diagonally one way and then the other, so you have a series of scored diamonds.  Rub the cut surface with a little oil from the roasted tomatoes, and sprinkle with a little smoked paprika (it’s quite strong, so you don’t need to go crazy).  Place the aubergines on a baking tray in the oven and leave for 25-30 minutes until the flesh is soft.

  2. Peel the garlic clove and chop it finely.  Halve the cherry tomatoes, or quarter them if they are very big.  Take about 10 tomatoes from the pack of roasted tomatoes and chop them roughly.

  3. Make the salad.  Place the rocket in a serving bowl.  Cut the cucumber and avocado into 1/2-1cm chunks and add to the rocket.  Mix well.  Top with pomegranate seeds.  If you like, you can make a dressing with oil from the roasted tomatoes and lemon juice, but we prefer our salad naked.

  4. Heat a teaspoon of the oil from the roasted tomatoes in a small saucepan on a medium heat. When it’s hot (it moves more easily around the pan), add the chopped garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Do not leave it at this stage; the garlic should brown gently, and will brown more when you add the tomatoes.  If it burns, you must throw it out and start again, as burnt garlic is foul.

  5. Add both kinds of tomatoes to the pan. If you’re using mushrooms, add them at this stage too.  Turn down the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes. The tomatoes should be soft and cooked through, but they should still hold most of their shape and not be completely sauce-like.

  6. Remove the aubergines from the oven and switch on the grill. Top the aubergines with the tomato sauce.  Crumble over the goat’s cheese.  Place under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.  Serve immediately with the salad.