Try this beautiful and delicious recipe for Baked Eggplant with California Figs and Leeks – it’s easy to make, healthy, tasty and impressive. What’s not to love?
Making the sexiest baked eggplant in town, NBD, right?
When I first saw this eggplant image on The Prague Blog, I reached out and asked for the recipe – which they didn’t have. So, I asked if I could use the image and create a baked eggplant recipe of my own.
They agreed, and I began the challenging task of making delicious food to fit a photo. (It’s waaay harder than it sounds, y’all.)
Figs are delicious, and the answer to your next question:
I used California Figs of course, because that’s where I live and they are the best. Also, California is the only place that figs are grown commercially in the U.S., so I suppose that's a factor. And before you tell me that figs have wasps in them: they don't. Trust me. Or, trust the California Fig Board: currently, 99% of figs grown commercially in the U.S. are self pollinating, with the remaining 1% (of an old variety) being replaced in the next few years.
With Baked Eggplant, Size Matters.
The size of your eggplant will affect the baking time, so if you’ve got a really huge one it could take a few minutes more, a smaller one could take a few minutes less. Just eyeball it after the first bake – if the center looks cooked and not raw, you’re good to go.
I make this recipe pretty often now, sometimes swapping the mozzarella for Parmesan, or adding caramelized onions if I don't have leeks. But the truth is, we like the original version best.
More fig goodness:
Love figs? Try these Fresh Figs with Date Caramel, Dark Chocolate + Pistachios and this Fig and Prosciutto Salad. Looking for more grain-free pizza ideas? Pizza Margherita With Grain-Free Pizza Crust is delicious and super easy. The crust is made mostly of cheese.
This baked eggplant is perfect with a glass of wine or a simple, not-too-sweet sangria. I hope you'll try it soon and love it too. It's definitely one of my favorites.
Baked Eggplant with California Figs and Leeks
- Cut the eggplant in half, and then score diagonally, being careful not to cut the skin. The scatter the garlic over the eggplant halves and brush liberally with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt. Place eggplant scored side up on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
- In the meantime, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Toss in halved cherry tomatoes and leeks, cook for 3-5 minutes, until tomato skins begin to blister & leeks slightly soften. Remove from the heat and set aside on plate or bowl. Add the vinegar and sugar to the skillet, and return to medium heat. Bring the mixture to a slight boil and reduce vinegar to a thick syrup.
- When the eggplant is done baking, scatter the mozzeralla slices over the top, and then top the cheese with the leeks, tomatoes and fresh figs. Return to the 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted & slightly bubbly.Finish the with eggplant by drizzling on the balsamic reduction and sprinkling with a little more salt. You can also drizzle lightly with olive oil if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Not everyone loves eggplants as much as I do, but this Fried Eggplant Napoleon recipe is so perfect that even if you don't dig eggplants, you could become an eggplant lover!
Frequently Asked Questions about Baked Eggplant with Figs & Leeks:
No. 99% of figs grown commercially in California (meaning sold at stores, farmer's markets and direct) are self-pollinating. California grows 100% of dried figs and 98% of fresh figs grown in the U.S.
No. Some recipes soak eggplant to remove bitterness, but it is not required, and shouldn;t be necessary with recipes calling for a longer baking or roasting time.
Yes. Eggplant is a high-fiber, low calorie vegetable with lots of great nutritional benefits.
No. Leeks look like large green onions, but they are actually milder in flavor. Shallots or sweet yellow onions are good substitutes for leeks.