Roasted Baby Eggplant

Roasted, stuffed, grilled and fried, are just some of the methods Italians (particularly southern Italians and Sicilians) use to turn this versatile vegetable into a vast variety of dishes.

The smaller, baby eggplants of summer are the perfect side-dish for picnics and potlucks or simply to enjoy al fresco at home.

Our recent trip to the not-so-local (2 hour drive) U-Pick farm, had our car loaded with pounds of fresh peaches (yes, we picked each one) and a bounty of baby eggplant. I just couldn’t help myself!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Baby eggplants, rinsed and dried
  • Italian parsley sprigs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise, leaving the stem in tact. With a sharp paring knife, score the flesh deeply (be careful to not cut through the bottom) in a diamond cross-hatch pattern. This is accomplished by making a few cuts at a steep angle and then rotate the eggplant to make another set of similar cuts). The diamond shapes are more apparent when you slightly squeeze the eggplant to open the cuts. The eggplants actually will look as if they were grilled rather than roasted.
  2. Generously, drizzle each half with olive oil on the cut-side and using your fingers, rub the oil all over the surface. Alternatively, you could brush on the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, place each eggplant half, cut-side down  on 2-3 sprigs of parsley. Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven 35-40 minutes (depending on size of eggplant).
  4. To serve, transfer eggplant to a platter and drizzle with some of the olive oil. Enjoy at room temperature.

 

 

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