What Happens When You Forget About Eggplant

By Mark Bittman

I do love eggplant, in just about all forms, the possible exception being badly executed eggplant Parmesan (see an example below, from when I took my mother out for lunch a couple of weeks ago).

Eggplant done poorly

Photos by Mark Bittman

Someday I’ll discuss “real” eggplant P., but for now I want to talk about how mistakes may lead to discoveries.

I was making dinner for myself the other night: the intent was a stir-fry and whatever else was lying around in the fridge, which included an eggplant. I decided to roast the eggplant, then brush it with miso and broil it. I got as far as slicing it, putting it in a pan with a liberal amount of oil, and adding salt and pepper. This went into a 425 degree oven; about 20 minutes later, I turned the slices and moved the heat down a bit, to around 350 degrees. Then I got busy with the stir-fry and, without looking at the eggplant—p robably 15 minutes later—just turned the oven off. The thinking (if there was any; I was tired, wine was involved, and it was late) was that I would deal with the eggplant “later.”

The stir-fry was great; I cleaned up and went to bed. At six I awoke and wondered, What happened to the eggplant?

I’d left it in the gradually cooling oven overnight, and it was faboo: eggplant candy. The thicker slices were chewy, the peel semi-crisp; the thinner ones were almost like chips, the skin crackling-like.

I’ve done this on purpose since; the eggplant is lovely on toast (with a bit of tomato sauce and a grating of Parmesan, it becomes a quick eggplant P., and a good one), or simply topped with an egg, or eaten out of hand. Try it, please, and let us know how it goes.

Eggplant Candy

 

 

 

Posted in Behind The Scenes

3 Comments

  1. Anna J. said...

    Great post about eggplant! I had some left over tomato sauce in the fridge last night and sliced up the eggplant, poured some olive oil on it, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and then I grilled it on my small Weber. Once it was ready, I heated up the sauce on my stove and put the eggplant in the warm sauce, then I sprinkled mozzarella cheese on it and let in cook for a few min on low–it was delish and a healthy alternative to fried. Had some for lunch today and it was just as good. Next time I am going to try and make grilled eggplant baba ganoush!

  2. Arthur Steinberger said...

    I’m a new adherent to the VB6 diet approach and eggplant is one of my new best friends. I will try this minus some of the oil. It also makes me wonder what the eggplant will taste like in my smoker cooked low and slow with some spices.

  3. Kathleen R. said...

    Your eggplant accident sound delicious! While growing up, I breaded and sautéed the eggplant for eggplant parm as taught by my Italian family, I have since begun roasting it as you did, for a lower maintenance version. For a well-executed traditional eggplant parm in San Francisco, I recommend Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Bar in North Beach.

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