An Italian taste of baked aubergine in extra virgin olive oil.
Photos: Nov 02 1997 , Made on: Nov 03 1997 , Translated: 22 Jul 1998

Reference books:
  1. Nihon-housoukyoukai, Kyou-no-ryouri No.9 (1997)
  2. Mitsuyo Kitamura, "Olive oil no gochisou" P.33 Bunka-syuppankyoku (1996)
  3. Imajun's theread of obentou mailing list (my friend of mailing list)

I have stated the importance of ingredients, especially seasonings, in my "My Cooking Theory". Basically, I selected ingredients for Japanese recipes after conducting comparative studies using samples of several varieties. However, in those days (1991 - 1992), there were not many varieties of olive oil imported, I simply used Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil due to the availability.

Recently, there was an article on olive oil in "Saturday X (dated 25th Oct. 97)" column of Nikkei, and it highlighted some specialty shops where you can do tasting. It also said that a variety of olive oil brands are now imported in Japan. When I introduced this in my mailing list (ML), there was a good debate on olive oil with Imajun whose comments were actually in the news article. Stimulated by this, I bought five varieties of olive oil. This recipe is, in fact, partly a means of tasting of these olive oils.

The authentic flavourings are "soy sauce" and "miso" in Japan, "butter" in France and "olive oil " in Italy, and in each country, it is natural to have hundreds of varieties of them. I was reassured by the fact that olive oil, even in small volumes, gave me the chance to taste several varieties of extra virgin oils. The surprising sensation I had from tasting the different characteristics and flavours of the finest oil is beyond description. Needless to say, to understand this, you must try them yourself...

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
  • Aubergine (medium size) - 4
  • Olive oil - 200-300 cc
  • Extra virgin oil (EVO)
  • Garlic - 3 cloves
  • Basil (preferably fresh)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
NB: You can also call this as Baked and Marinated Aubergines. Preferably you can obtain fresh basil, but I could not find it. Hence I used dried basil for this recipe.


Cut aubergines into half as the photo, and slice them into 7-8 mm thick. Fry them in a generous amount of olive oil (you do not have to use EVO for this).

When they become golden, remove them from the pan and drain off the excessive oil.

Lay out the fried aubergines in deep containers or deep dish, sprinkle over salt, pepper and sliced garlic, and finally pour over plenty of olive oil. I used approximately 100 cc of EVO per 1.5 aubergines here. Use EVO or marinate.

Note: EVO is the first juice squeezed out of freshly picked olives, and hence it can also be described as fresh olive juice. EVO has superior flavour and fragrance. Despite the large quantity of oil used, you do not feel it too oily.

The photo shows the dish using three varieties. The EVOs used are (from the left):-
  • RIVIERA ALTO GARDA (Alto garda)
  • 250ml1,500 yen
  • MANCIANTI (Umbria)
  • 250ml980 yen
  • SANTAMARIA (Abruzzo)
  • 500ml2,500 yen
    Mancianti was the favourite in our household...

    Contents copyright 1996-1998 Mitsuo Sugawara
    Translator: MoonCat