Thursday, 24 January 2013

Aubergine and Feta Tart

I'm afraid this is the complete antithesis of health, involving copious amounts of cheese, oil and pastry, so if you're on a January health kick, STEP AWAY.
However, for those of us who appreciate a bit of winter padding to stave off the cold, this tart is about the most delicious thing you can do with an aubergine. 
I adapted this from a recipe in Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II (which came free in the paper - good old Observer) - - and it normally serves four people, but because me and my boyfriend are pigs, we just ate the lot between the two of us. Judge us or follow suit, your choice. Enjoy!

Veggie feta sourcing tip - check the label just to make sure, as supermarkets change suppliers and recipes all the time, but Sainsburys Taste the Difference feta is veggie, as are Tesco and Co-op own brand.

What you need

3 medium aubergines
150g vegetarian feta 
few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 320g sheet puff pastry (bought or, if you think you're 'ard enough - I'm not - home made)

What to do

First of all, pop two of the aubergines into the oven at 200C. They want to be left whole, but puncture them with a fork first or they might explode all over your oven, and nobody wants that. Leave them in for half an hour until they're soft and crinkly, then take out and let them cool down enough to handle.

Meanwhile, roll out the pastry onto a baking tray and score it with a knife a couple of inches from the edge - like a massive vol au vent. Put the pastry in on the shelf below the aubergine until brown - normally about 15 - 20 minutes. When done, leave to cool (don't worry about having a kitchen full of cold pastry and cold aubergines, it's all going to go back in the oven in a bit) then flatten the middle bit where you haven't scored with the nearest utensil to hand.

Crush the 2 cloves of garlic, fry off briefly until light brown, then take off the heat. The two cooked aubergines should now be cool enough to handle, and the skin should come off really easily with your hands. Cut the flesh into chunks, add with the garlic into a bowl, and mash it with a fork (or a stick blender if you have such a thing) into a pâté-like consistency.

Slice your remaining aubergine quite thinly and fry the slices until golden, which unless you have a giant pan will probably have to be in batches. Aubergines are infamous for soaking up a ridiculous amount of oil, and my way round this is to brush the actual slices with oil rather than oiling the pan. 

Now, assemble your tart! Spread the garlicky aubergine paste over the flattened middle bit of pastry, then lay on your aubergine slices in a visually pleasing manner. Crumble over the feta and add the sprigs of thyme.

Pop it in the oven (still at 200) for 10 - 15 more minutes, enough for the feta to soften and brown a bit.

Done! Hope you give it a try!


  1. I'm all about pastry right now too, though more along the lines of greedy deep-filled stodge slathered in gravy. This looks good though, it's definitely something I'd try, especially if I manage to grow some this summer as planned.

    1. Agreed, I absolutely love pastry, and the ready-made stuff is sooo easy to base a quick dinner on. Hope your aubergines flourish!