At work last week I got an email from Ash, saying that he wanted to cook dinner one night and that he had an amazing recipe idea. And it was amazing. I actually stopped, a number of times, during dinner, to say ‘wow, this sauce, just wow’. It was that good.
He bought a fat round eggplant and grilled slices, and topped them with a chunky, rich tomato, mushroom and olive sauce that was just slightly smokey. The sides were grilled asparagus, a baby spinach and shaved zucchini salad, and a glass of shiraz. Incredible. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.
I’m starting to worry that Ash will become the star of this blog – whatever will I do!
So without further ado, here is the recipe.
Ash’s smokey chunky tomato sauce (serves 4)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 10-12 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 heaped tsp minced chilli
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (the magic ingredient)
- 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 handful fresh basil, scrunched and roughly chopped
- Heat oil over medium heat and saute the onion until translucent.
- Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are a bit browned.
- Add the olives, chilli, paprika and diced tomatoes and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is really thick.
- Stir through soy sauce and basil and serve.
And to make the entire amazing dinner, that would serve about four people, you will need:
- Ash’s chunky tomato sauce
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1cm rounds
- 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 zucchini, shaved (use a mandoline or a peeler)
- A few big handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 tbsp caramelised balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 180C. Brush eggplant slices with a little olive oil and roast in a single layer on an baking tray for 30 minutes, or until a bit browned, turning halfway through. He did this while the sauce was simmering down.
- Toss the zucchini, spinach and vinegar to make the salad and set aside.
- When the eggplant is about 5-10 minutes from done, brush the asparagus with a little more olive oil and grill on another baking tray in a single layer.
- Top eggplant bases with tomato sauce and serve with asparagus and salad. Fight over the leftovers.