Now that the holidays are over and I have cooked my fill of complex and fattening recipes, I am taking a break to cook simple and healthy foods. Today’s inspiration comes from one of my favorite chef/teacher/cookbook authors, Susan Herrmann Loomis. Her roasted eggplant with fresh local cheese recipe fits the bill. While I was at her school in Normandy I had the privilege of watching her “throw” this dish together for dinner.
Some of my favorite meals she made were very simple. They were as easy as finding a vegetable, picking some herbs from her garden, and a dash of this or that. She works with such grace and flair it makes me believe I can cook with such style someday.
Since I have returned home I have made roasted eggplant countless times. It is a perfect vegetarian meal for one, or a beautiful side dish for lamb chops. I decided to add a little color and top the roasted eggplant with pureed bell peppers.
Fan-cut the eggplants by taking a sharp knife and cutting thin slices from just below the stem of the eggplant all the way to the bottom, being careful not to separate the slices at the top. Press firmly on the stem end of the eggplant to “fan out” the slices, making the eggplant lie flat (also a great technique for zucchini).
Note: Japanese eggplants are smaller and more elongated than American varieties. You can find them at your local farmer’s markets or your supermarket. Here in California we can get local eggplant all year round, and for the rest of the world, this recipe is one to save until sunny summer.
Drizzle olive oil on the eggplant, sprinkle with minced garlic and season with chili pepper, then roast in oven.
Eggplants are naturally low in calories, fat free and they are a great source of dietary fiber. They are also high in potassium, and contain iron and protein.
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 small Japanese or Chinese eggplants, stem end attached & cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices
- ¼ teaspoon chilli pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large shallots, sliced paper thin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar (12 oz each) roasted red peppers, drained
- 2 ounce soft goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Heat oven to 400˚.
- Place eggplant on a baking sheet and brush eggplant with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic and chili pepper. Roast until golden on both sides, about 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Cook the shallots and garlic until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until they are translucent, another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add peppers and lower heat; simmer until peppers are hot through out, about 5 minutes. Puree in a blender or use an immersion blender. Set aside.
- Mash goat cheese, capers and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a bowl.
- Place the eggplant fans on a platter or on individual plates.
- Spoon equal amounts of the simple sauce over each eggplant.
- Top with a dollop of goat cheese.
- Optional – garnish with parsley
Saying of the Day:
“It is said in the Middle East that a woman is not ready to marry until she knows 1,000 ways to cook eggplant.”
So single ladies… add this recipe to your arsenal.
…and then she paused for thought.