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).
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.