Three years ago? Could it have been three years? Well, I’ll let the facts speak for themselves: After I had left Chiang Mai in late July 2015, I undertook a 30+ hour trip to Rome. And then stayed there for all of 14 hours. Why? Because I “had to” go to one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen.
After my hiking trip to Achensee and my massive sightseeing trips to Verbania and Milan, I took a real holiday. No phone, just reading books, drinking wine, looking at medieval architecture, and swimming in the sea. Real island time!
My two months in Singapore concluded with a super quick trip to Taipei just to high five William. But wait, there was more!
What do you do, when you have a visitor who has by now seen more of your hometown than you?
You go out of town. For example to a nice little spa town in a neighboring country.
I looove fennel, but I realize that not many people do. I get it! What do you even do with that bulbous stuff that smells like the tea you had to drink when you were sick as a child? (For me it was chamomile, so that’s the reason why I loathe that particular tea)
Anyway! Hear me out! I encourage you to try this once, and if you STILL hate it, you have my permission to type up some angry comments.
This is the easiest one yet: Two ingredients. Unless you have a severe dislike for one of those, you will love this.
1 -2 eggplants (really fat ones if you can get them)
100 g tomato paste
100 g grated parmesan cheese
a bunch of fresh basil leaves
a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
- cut eggplant lengthwise in thin slices (3-5 mm, yes you can)
- grill in the oven on a reck until they are soft (no baking sheet at this point will speed up the process), at about 200 degrees Celsius
- remove from the rack to cool a bit, cover rack with a baking sheet
- spread a thin layer of tomato paste on each slice, stick a basil leave on top and put the slices next to each other on the rack, add pepper
- cover everything with grated cheese
- bake for 10 mins at about 200 degrees Celsius or until the cheese is golden
Serve with ciabatta or any kind of (toasted) bread you like. This also goes well with tomato butter.
Also, as always, feel free to add as much garlic as you like. Timing-wise, I suggest drizzling the tomato pasted-ed eggplant with garlic oil before adding the cheese.
If you want to keep it vegan use toasted nuts or breadcrumbs instead of the cheese.