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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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 It
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.
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.
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.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature and rewarm before proceeding.
A red Rioja will balance the rustic flavors.
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