Oh, this is good. I’m quite tempted just to leave it at that – I’m not feeling particularly inspired this morning, and really that is all you need to know – but that would be a bit lazy, no?
The recipe’s from Plenty More, Ottolenghi’s second vegetarian cookbook. It took me a few times leafing through before any of the recipes really caught me, but I’m glad they did. Just like Plenty, everything I’ve cooked from the book so far has been absolutely the best thing you can do with [insert ingredient here]. And that cauliflower cake that’s been everywhere recently really is as good as it’s made out to be. Even if it is nearly impossible to take a decent photo of.
Intersecting the two categories of “delicious” and “doesn’t look completely mad”, then, I bring you this aubergine cheesecake. Just a bit more photographable, although not much. There’s only so much you can do with tin foil.
Recipe after the jump.
Recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. I didn’t have za’atar in the house, but I did have some mystery dried herbs which were probably marjoram from last summer, so I used Heidi Swanson’s za’atar recipe and just sort of made up the bits I didn’t have. It was still delicious.
Serves 4, and is equally delicious for lunch the next day.
65ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 medium aubergines
150g feta, crumbled
150g cream cheese
60ml double cream
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
10g oregano leaves, torn (or 1tsp dried oregano, at a push)
1 1/2tsp za’atar
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 210℃ (190℃ fan).
Slice the aubergines lengthways into 2cm-thick slices, brush with 60ml of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment for 40 minutes, until soft and golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 170℃ (150℃ fan).
Use an electric whisk to mix together the feta, cream cheese, eggs and cream until smooth and thick, then season with some more black pepper.
Line a 19cm square baking tin with foil and brush with oil. Arrange the aubergine slices on their sides, using the tomato halves as structural support, sprinkle with half the oregano and pour over the feta mix. Sprinkle with the remaining oregano.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until set and golden. Leave to cool slightly, then mix together the za’atar with the remaining tsp of oil and brush this over the top.