Christ is Risen!
Not much of this world brings me such great joy except when I find a new recipe and can share with my loved ones, and we commune in joy. Much love can be felt when sharing a meal with those around you; it is a good feeling knowing that you prepared a meal that sustains another one’s life. I believe this is one of many great acts of love and one of the reasons, despite it being a heavy labored job at times, we can show each other; sharing and giving welcomes love and peace. With great joy I share this delicious recipe.
It is very easy to make and ready in under an hour. I used Greek oregano in place of Greek basil because it is what I had on hand. Variations are listed below if you don’t have Greek herbs. One of the reasons I love about this dish is that you can make the filling a day in advance or easily under 15 minutes as the eggplants are baking. To make this plant based/vegan, you can use Violife’s vegan feta or Follow Your Heart grated feta cheese. I used the Violife feta block, grated it and mixed it together with the ingredients. This is a recipe I will come to again and again time after time.
To make this a more filling meal, add cooked rice tossed with parsley, pita bread with hummus, skordalia or any Greek spread you like.
Author’s note: You can prepare these parcels in advance and chill them in the refrigerator for several hours. Greek basil has smaller, more rounded leaves than the familiar basil we usually see in supermarkets and greengrocers. You can also strip the leaves off the stems and leave them whole, or chop them coarsely.
2 large eggplants (aubergines), trimmed
Olive oil, for brushing
2 bottled roasted red bell peppers, drained, diced
6 black olives, pitted, diced
7 oz/200 g feta cheese, crumbled
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Few Greek basil sprigs, chopped plus extra for sprinkling
2-3 Tbsp thick Greek yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Snipped chives, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ Gas Mark 6. Line 2 baking baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Cut each eggplant lengthwise into 8 long slices. Brush lightly with olive oil and lay them on the baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in the hot oven for 15 minutes, or until tender and golden brown. Remove and cool.
- Meanwhile, mix together the bell peppers, olives, feta, lemon zest, and basil with enough yogurt to bind them together. Season to taste.
- Take a slice of eggplant and lay it out flat. Put another slice on top to form a cross. Place a spoonful of the feta mixture in the middle and fold the ends of the eggplant over the filling to form a neat parcel. Secure with a toothpick or a cocktail stick. repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and filling.
- Serve the parcels drizzled with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with Greek basil and chives.
Add some diced scallions (spring onions) to the filling.
Use thyme, marjoram, or regain (Greek oregano) instead of basil.
Drizzle with lemony vinaigrette.
“The Greek Cookbook” Phaidon