Eggplant and ricottaI’ve discovered this wonderful new thing, roadside farmers markets. They are all around my neighborhood at the moment. All the produce is cheap as hell and gorgeous, especially the root vegetables (baby potato and baby beet addiction). It’s easy to get inspired and I’ll have a dish pop into my head after perusing the stands for a few minutes. I spotted fresh figs and eggplants and I immediately went home to make this.

Serves 4 as a starter.

Oven at 220 degrees celsius.

Ingredients:

2 Large eggplants, halved and scored across the flesh in a diagonal criss-cross

1/2 cup olive oil

8 figs, quartered

8 tablespoons of ricotta

rind of 2 lemons

2 tsp leaves + 4 sprigs of lemon thyme

6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

40g sugar

Place the eggplants on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Massage olive oil into the flesh until all the oil has been absorbed by the eggplants. Sprinkle with lemon thyme leaves and a very generous amount of salt and pepper, eggplant is so mild in flavour it is hard to be heavy handed on the seasoning. Bake for about 30 minutes, until flesh is soft and browned. Don’t ignore any spongey bits! Undercooked eggplant is the worst. Remove from oven and cool.

Carefully mix together ricotta and lemon rind, set aside in fridge until you are ready to use it.

In a pan combine balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil then decrease the heat and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until it thickens but is still pourable. It will thicken more as it cools, add a drop of water if it is no longer pourable.

To assemble, place at half an eggplant flesh side up on a plate. Top with 2 tablespoons of the ricotta lemon mix and then a handful of the figs, drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a sprig of lemon thyme, serve immediately.

P.s. if you have Instagram you can follow me @emmainthesauce. I often post photos of my dishes before the illustrations and recipes go up on the blog.

Love,

Emma xx