Recently, I saw some baby eggplant on special and thought it would be a good opportunity to get over my eggplant trepidation. It's winter here, after all, and if there is any time to experiment with roast vegetables - now is it.
And you know what? It wasn't that hard.
I did go through the pre-cooking salt procedure (described as degorging, which is a phrase I really struggle to get behind), but only in a very basic sense. After that, I just treated the eggplant like any other roast vegetable. In this instance, that meant roasting it in a mix of balsamic vinegar and dried herbs. The preparation time is very minimal.
We had the roast eggplant and vegetables with some Linda McCartney veggie sausages. It was a simple meal that perfectly matched a cool winter night. Whilst baby eggplant is a bit of an easier prospect than standard eggplant, I also feel like I've gone some way to addressing my eggplant avoidance at home.
If you're also eggplant wary, hopefully this will help you out too!
Roast baby eggplant with herbs and balsamic vinegar
An easy beginner's eggplant dish
Serves 4 as a side dish
4 baby eggplants, ends removed and cut in half
8 - 10 small potatoes, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium capsicum, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
Salt, for preparing the eggplant
Preheat your oven to 200'C.
Lay the eggplant face up on some paper towels and cut diagonal slices into the flesh, without puncturing the skin below. Sprinkle the flesh with salt and cover with more paper towels. Allow to sit for at least 15 - 30 minutes, or longer if preferred. Rinse briefly to remove excess salt and pat dry thoroughly.
When the eggplant is ready, place it in a large baking dish along with the potatoes, carrots and capsicum.
Combine the oil, maple syrup, vinegar and herbs in a jug or small bowl, whisk to combine, and drizzle over the vegetables. Toss to mix through.
Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 1.5 hours, checking occasionally.
Serve as a side dish to whatever takes your fancy.
Eggplant are not my favourite vegetable, but it is nice to have an extra option to toss in a roasting mix while they're in season. Perhaps with time, I'll even gain confidence in using them in other ways too...
Submitted to Ricki's Wellness Weekend 11th to 15th July 2013.
What are your thoughts on eggplant? Any favourite preparation techniques or dishes?