These dishes are beaut for meat-free days or simply as vegetable accompaniments. Don't like eggplants? My husband didn't either until he tasted them like this. Curly endive, if you've never had it, is a leafy lettuce-sorta-thing belonging to the chicory family. The leaves and stems can and should be eaten. It's delicious and very healthy. Do try.
greek eggplant in tomato sauce
1 large eggplant
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp tomato passata (to make yourself see my recipe here) or 3 ripe tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
a few sprigs fresh basil or oregano, roughly chopped
pinch of salt
Slice eggplant thinly either lengthways or into discs. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and fry slices of eggplant until there is some colour on both sides. Add tomato passata or finely chopped tomatoes, garlic, herbs and salt to taste. Add enough water to create a sauce (about 1/2 cup), stir then lower heat and simmer until eggplant has cooked down and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if the mixture is becoming too dry too quickly, add a splash of water.
This dish is terrific with thick crusty sourdough bread. It's possibly even better the next day. Can be eaten cold or hot.
curly endive and bean casserole
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 ripe tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
1 bunch curly endive, cleaned thoroughly and roughly chopped (stems and leaves)
1 cup Great Northern Beans, soaked in water overnight and boiled in fresh water until soft, about 40 minutes
pinch of salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large pot over a low heat. Add diced onion and sauté until soft but not coloured. Add tomatoes, chopped endive, the cooked beans and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, then cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally to allow all the endive to wilt. Once all the endive has wilted, check to see if more liquid is needed. If so, add a splash of water or vegetable stock. Cover and let simmer until endive is cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Cooked endive should still have a slight bite to it, but not too much to the point where you get tired chewing.
This is great on its own, with the eggplant dish above or with free range roast pork.