Remember how I told you that I didn’t know how to cook eggplant? Well, I’ve been practicing a lot since then. I thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve discovered along the way you with, and an easy recipe!
How to roast perfect eggplant:
Whether dicing or slicing, make each piece the same size. This will ensure everything is done cooking at the same time!
Use plenty of oil. Don’t skimp. Eggplant is like a sponge and will soak it up plenty of oil, but that makes it get crispy in the outside. Use a Silpat (affiliate link) to keep the eggplant from sticking to your pans. Parchment works too.
Since you’ll be using plenty, use an oil with a taste you enjoy. While it’s not a high heat oil, we like the flavor of olive oil roasted eggplant more than others. Experiment with an oil that tastes good to you! (I also like avocado oil.)
Season with salt, pepper, and garlic before you roast. (Or harissa. Harissa is amazing.)
Cook with a high heat: when in doubt, I go to 450°F for eggplant, but if you’re looking to char your eggplant (like, for a smokey baba ganoush) you’ll want to use your grill.
Have patience. Wait until the eggplant is super soft when you bite into it. Set a timer, leave the kitchen, and do something else. No foamy eggplant, ok?!
Top it with a sauce or something fresh. A drizzle of yogurt and a scoop of tomato-cucumber salad is great, but this roasted eggplant salad calls for a creamy tahini sauce.
Now, on to why I love this recipe!
Put on some classical music and thrown on your apron. Cooking this salad makes me feel like Ottlenghi, and you will too if you're in the right mindset.
While eggplant is a summer crop, I like it best when it’s been roasted in the oven for sometime, making it something I prefer to cook when it's a bit cooler. Biting into a forkful of cold romaine lettuce on a snowy day? No thanks! We can do better, and in this case, better is roasted. This roasted eggplant salad is exactly the kind of thing I want to make for lunch when there’s a chill in the air.
Topped with parsley, pomegranate, and a creamy tahini sauce, it’s also vibrant with wintery colors: red, green, and soft white. It goes great with the side of roasted chicken, quinoa, or hummus… buuuut we eat this as a whole meal, split between two people.
Serves: 2 as a main course, 4 as a side | Total Time: 45-50 minutes
- 2 medium eggplants (Italian variety)
- 2 large shallots
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- Sprinkle of salt
- Sprinkle of garlic powder
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup pomegranate perils
- 1/3 cup toasted pinenuts For the Tahini Sauce:
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Slice eggplants into 1/2 inch thick rounds, and arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet (or two). Slice shallots into wedges, and add to baking sheet. Brush everything with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until eggplant is golden and cooked through. TIP: You can add the pinenuts in the last 3-5 minutes to get them nice and toasted if they are not already. Watch them closely to avoid burning.
- While the eggplant is cooking, make the tahini sauce: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth, seasoning with salt to taste.
- Assembly: use a spatula to transfer cooked eggplant and shallots to a serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley, pomegranate, and pinenuts. Then, drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve warm.