Aubergine with crumbed goats' cheese and roasted beetroot
( SERVES 4 )
Cheese and beetroot are a favourite combination - the flavours and textures are easy in each other's company. The aubergine brings a pleasant bitterness against the sweet beetroot. The rock salt under the beetroot helps concentrate the natural sugars and flavours as it cooks, and it absorbs any moisture, keeping the beet pleasantly dry. Serve as an entrée to dinner, or for lunch just as it is.
|100 ml||Olive oil|
|1 to drizzle||Olive oil|
|1||Salt & freshly ground pepper|
|1 splash||Balsamic vinegar|
|100 g||Goat's cheese, cut into pieces|
|1 cup||Vegetable oil|
- Cut the aubergines into 5mm slices. Heat the oil in a frying pan with the garlic - you won't need to peel the garlic - then add the aubergine slices, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides, then gently lift out onto some paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the slices on individual serving plates with the beetroot chunks and fried goats' cheese. Serve drizzled with extra olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Preheat the oil in a small but deep saucepan. First, dip the cheese in the flour, then into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.
- Carefully place the crumbed pieces in the hot oil, then cook for 2-3 minutes or until the crumbs are golden.
- Use a sieve or tongs to remove the pieces from the oil, then drain on paper towels and keep warm until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove any stalks and leaves from the beets, but do not peel off the skin. Sprinkle a layer of rock salt over the base of a small roasting dish, then place the beets on top.
- Bash the garlic cloves with the broad side of a knife, then tuck them next to the beets, along with the thyme. Drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Roast for about 45 minutes until they are soft when squeezed gently (this can take a good hour for large beetroot).
- Once they're cooked, remove the dish from the oven and allow the beets to cool enough to handle. Carefully peel off the skins, then cut the beets into 3cm chunks. Place in a bowl and set aside.