Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I kid you not, Oliver and I eat these as if they were the most delicious French fries in the world -- they are really THAT good! All my life I disliked eggplant because I had only ever had it in the typical eggplant parm fashion, which doesn't really flavor the eggplant properly (maybe I've just never had really good eggplant parm, who knows?).
In recent years, though, I discovered I LOVE eggplant two ways: one is khoresh badamjan, which is an exquisitely delicious (but simple!) eggplant, lamb, and tomato stew made in the Persian style (recipe forthcoming in the next couple weeks! I just have to pick up some lamb for this), and the other way is roasted. Roasting thin eggplant wedges with olive oil and sea salt is similar to frying, but without all the work of watching vigilantly, flipping, and waiting. Even the cutting is easier with this method. Now is a great time to try eggplant cooked this way because they are only $1.25/lb. at the farmers' market! You could have a really nice snack for just $1 or so.
You will want to pick relatively slim eggplants for this recipe, about a foot in length (the idea is to be able to make thin wedges out of them). Eggplants are mainly water, so they shrink down dramatically which means you will need to make two of them for a big snack for you and your little one. Just wash them thoroughly, cut off the ends, cut in half once (around the "waist", not lengthwise), and slice into thin wedges. I usually make about 32 wedges in all from each one.
Next spread the wedges in a shallow layer in 2 oven-proof dishes (I recommend glass or ceramic), pour on a good amount of olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup per dish), add a few generous pinches of sea salt, and mix everything up very well (using your hands is fine! have your kids help you). Then bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, turning a few times during cooking. The idea is for them for get a little brown and crispy, but also very soft and translucent.