Spicy Honey Eggplant and Vine Tomatoes Focaccia with Goats Cheese
Golden brown roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes combined with basil oil, goat's cheese, and served on warm focaccia slices


Roasted Eggplant & Tomatoes:

3 medium eggplants, thinly sliced into 5mm thick rounds

2x punnets NZ Hot House strawberry cherry tomatoes, cut in half

4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed

Handful of fresh thyme sprigs left whole

2 medium red chilli, thinly sliced (remove seeds if desired)

1 Tbsp Manuka honey

Basil Oil:

30g fresh basil leaves

30g Parmesan, finely grated

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Loaded Focaccia:

3 large slices fresh focaccia bread (about 600g)

100g soft goats cheese

Thyme leaves, to garnish


Preheat your oven to 200°C fan bake.

Prep eggplant: Thinly slice eggplants into rounds and add to a large bowl. Drizzle with about 3 Tbsp olive oil and toss eggplant until well coated in oil. Season generously with salt and toss again. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Arrange eggplant slices on the lined oven tray so the slices don’t overlap. Set aside.

Prep tomatoes: Add cherry tomatoes to a medium roasted dish, along with garlic, thyme sprigs, chilli and honey. Drizzle generously with olive oil, then season well with salt and pepper.

Roast eggplant on the lower-middle oven rack for about 20-25 minutes until very golden brown and tender. Roast the cherry tomatoes on the upper-middle oven rack for about 30-35 minutes, until soft, jammy and starting to caramelize. Set both aside to cool at room temperature.

Basil Oil: Place basil in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 seconds, then drain through a sieve. Rinse with cold running water until the basil is completely cooled. Squeeze out excess liquid from the basil with a clean tea towel. In a mini food processor, blitz the blanched basil, Parmesan, lemon juice and 2 Tbsp of olive oil together until it forms a smooth paste. Stir through remaining olive oil and set aside to serve.

Just before serving, warm focaccia in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Top the warmed focaccia slices with the eggplant, tomatoes + juices, basil oil, crumbled goat's cheese, a few thyme leaves and a pinch of chilli flakes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Credit: Melies Kitchen