Balsamic roasted eggplant (gf + v)

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Things got crazy over the past few months what with taking my boards and moving from NorCal to SoCal, but I am happy to finally be back in the kitchen cooking! I hope you’ve had a great and delicious summer! This recipe was inspired by a visit to my new local farmer’s market, where I was absolutely thrilled to find a large variety of eggplants for sale: lovely green Thai eggplants shaped like eggs, slender lavender Chinese eggplants, deep purple Italian eggplants, pale green Filipino eggplants…thanks to my husband “egging” me on, the next thing I knew I was buying one of each! Eggplant is a finicky vegetable, as I have mentioned in past recipes – the key is to cook it into sweet tender submission (undercooked eggplant is just bitter and gross!). While there are many ways to cook eggplant, my personal favorite to oven-roast it. I was very lucky to have been recently gifted a lovely bottle of seriously delicious balsamic vinegar as a graduation present from a dear coworker, so that also featured in this recipe. I hope you enjoy this versatile summer dish, which tastes great on its own, is lovely over a green salad or a bed of simple pasta marinara, or would also be great as an hors d’oeuvre served with toasted baguette slices or pita triangles. Serves 3-4.

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Ingredients:

  • 5-6 small (or two larger) eggplants of whichever variety you like
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or about 1/2 tsp dried)
  • Fresh Italian parsley, about 6 sprigs

Preheat your oven to a toasty 400F. Slice the eggplants into about 1/4″ thick rounds (trim off the tops where the stems are, but you don’t have to discard the bottom end). Lay them in a large roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with the sea salt (this draws out some of the moisture in addition to seasoning them).

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Drizzle generously with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and give it all a good toss until evenly coated. Then sprinkle on the thyme leaves.

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Roast for about 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice in the process, until the eggplants are nicely browned, slightly translucent and very tender. Mince the fresh parsley and sprinkle liberally over the top. Serve hot. Enjoy!

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