Fish with eggplant, almond and preserved lemon bake

Recipe by – Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

A favourite recipe used by Jacinda and Clarke and their family.

What you need

  • 2 eggplants, cut 2 cm length wise
  • ½ cup roasted almonds, whlie or ground (if using ground, lightly toast in a pan)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder, toasted in pan until light brown and fragrant
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • ½ preserved lemon, skin only (alternatively the rind of 2 fresh lemons could be used, but you would need to add ½-1 teaspoon salt)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used coriander and basil, but parsley and mint would both work well too)
  • olive oil
  • 4-6 fillets of fresh fish (snapper, gurnard, etc)

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C grill.
  2. Place almonds, garlic, coriander powder, chilli and lemon in a blender or food processor, and process until it forms a crumbly paste.
  3. Lay the eggplant on a baking tray, brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place under the grill until the edges start to brown – about 10 minutes – then turn and grill the other side for further 5 minutes. Alternatively eggplant can be fried in a pan on both sides, until just starting to soften.
  4. Turn oven to bake and reduce heat to 200°C.
  5. Grease a baking dish with liive oil and lay half the eggplant into the dish. Spread the almond mixture over the top and cover with remaining eggplant. Pour the can of tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the feta. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20- 25 minutes, or until bubbling and hot, and eggplant is really starting to feel soft. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes.
  6. While this is dish is cooking, take the fish and season with salt and pepper. Pan fry in butter, a couple of minutes each side.
  7. Serve the dish with on individual plates, with a piece of fish on top and a squeeze of lemon juice.