Introduction: Roasted Eggplant With Garlic
A great way to cook eggplant with minimal prep time.
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Step 1: Prepare Eggplant
Find yourself some nice Chinese or Japanese eggplant. These are the long skinny varieties, easily distinguishable from the globular Italian eggplant. Do not attempt to use Italian eggplant for this dish- the skin is too thick, and the flesh isn't as sweet.
Wash the eggplant, trim off the caps, halve lengthwise, and place them in a greased baking dish. I generally use spray canola oil, and give the cut surfaces of the eggplant another spray to keep them moist in baking.
Step 2: Season
Chop a big pile of garlic, or use a jar of the pre-chopped stuff. Garlic salt really won't cut it.
Sprinkle the chopped garlic over the eggplant to your preferred density, then drizzle the eggplant with a bit of olive oil.
Grind fresh pepper over the top, and sprinkle with cajun spice and/or a bit of salt.
scallions, parsley, etc can be chopped in with the garlic
chili powder, cumin, oregano, roasemary, or the spice/herb of your choice to sprinkle on top
Step 3: Roast
Put the pan in a 350F oven for about 30-45 minutes. The eggplant will thin and curl on itself a bit, and the garlic will become a crisp and nutty brown on top.
At this point you can remove the eggplant and eat them directly, but I prefer to shut off the oven and let them slowly cool while I go for a bike ride. This extra hour sitting at low temperature dries the eggplant out a bit more, concentrating and mellowing the flavors.
Step 4: Serve
You can serve these warm or at room temperature; it's all good.
They make great appetizers when cut into segments and served at room temperature, and of course make a lovely vegetarian side dish for those upcoming family gatherings.