Roasting eggplant brings out the smoky richness of the vegetable. The flavor intensifies because as the eggplant roasts, water evaporates.The texture changes from rubbery when raw to a smooth creaminess. Serve the roasted eggplant as a side dish on its own. Use the roasted eggplant cubes in ratatouille, a vegetable dish with tomatoes, onions, green peppers and summer squash. Or puree the eggplant as the basis for dips.
Things You'll Need
- Cutting board
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. fresh chopped herbs - rosemary, basil, parsley and or thyme
- Roasting pan
Wash the eggplant. Pat dry. Lay the eggplant on a cutting board. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom. Cut a thin slice from each of the four sides. You now have a roughly rectangular-shaped eggplant with most of the skin removed.
Remove the remaining skin from the eggplant with a paring knife. Lay the eggplant back on the cutting board. Cut into 1-inch thick slices. Stack the broad slices on top of each other and cut into 1-inch wide sticks. Cut across the sticks into 1-inch cubes.
Put the cubes in a colander inside a bowl. Sprinkle the cubes with salt. After an hour, rinse well with cold water and pat dry. Salt draws out the bitterness from the eggplant. Rinsing washes away the excess salt. Place the cubes in a bowl.
Drizzle the cubes with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the cubes with the herbs. Toss again. Drizzle with 1 more tbsp. of olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the roasting pan. Spread to cover the bottom of the pan completely.
Lay the cubes in the roasting pan, spreading them apart so they don't tough. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until the cubes are browned and soft. Pierce a cube with a fork. There should be no resistance.
Remove the eggplant from the oven.
Tips & Warnings
- Splash the roasted eggplant cubes with red wine vinegar, lemon juice or a bit of hot sauce for extra flavor.
- Mash the eggplant with a fork. Spread on toasted sourdough bread and drizzle with olive oil for a quick take on crostini.
- Young eggplant with small seeds aren't usually bitter. If that's what you're using you can skip the step of sprinkling with salt and rinsing.
- Eggplant sucks up olive oil. Don't be deceived and think you have to add more.
- Fine Cooking; How to Cook Eggplant to Tender, Silky Perfection; Ayla Algar
- "Party Food: Small and Savory"; Barbara Kafka; 1992
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images