Baked Eggplant with Cheese and Anchovies

Joseph Jiménez de Jiménez sometimes dresses up these eggplants by topping them with tomatoes and cheese, then sliding them back in the oven before serving. He uses Idiazábal, a Basque smoked sheep's-milk cheese, but Gouda is a good alternative.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • Two 1-pound eggplants, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups plain tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Idiazábal cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 12 anchovy fillets

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Brush the cut sides of the eggplants with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and set them in a large baking dish, cut side up. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes, or until tender; brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil after 20 minutes.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden. Add the tomato sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 20 minutes.

  3. In a small bowl, toss the cheese with the bread crumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spoon the tomato sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with the crumb mixture and bake until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant halves to plates, garnish with the anchovies and serve.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature and rewarm before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

A red Rioja will balance the rustic flavors.

Contributed By Published April 2000

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