Whole Roasted Eggplant: Two Ways

Preheat oven to 425 fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise and using a knife, lightly score the flesh in a criss-cross formation. This will help the olive oil and herbs absorb more into the eggplant. Place on the baking sheet along with the tomato halves. The tomatoes should be facing up, but the eggplant, either can be facing up or down, because you will flip it half way through the cooking process. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes and toss. Add the garlic clove near the tomatoes and garnish the tomatoes with fresh thyme leaves and oregano (optional). Place in oven and cook until golden brown. Eggplants take about 30-40 minutes, make sure to flip half way through the cooking process. Leave the tomatoes as is, they take about 45 minutes, more or less, but check until they are done. Remove and let cool slightly.

To make the tahini sauce, in a small bowl whisk together the tahini and water (and lemon juice if you wish), until incorporated. Place the two eggplants on a serving plate. Drizzle one with tahini and top with fresh parsley and black sesame seeds. For the other, place a half roasted tomato on top. Garnish with nuts, seeds, and fresh herbs like thyme or oregano if you like. Serve and enjoy!

Serving: 1-2
Total time: about 1 hour

1 graffiti eggplant
1 vine tomato, cut in half in the middle
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of chili flakes
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 garlic clove
optional* pinch of oregano

3 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons water
small handful of parsley + pinch of sesame seeds for garnish

whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com

Happy Spring! I thought I’d share with you a delicious and quick recipe to celebrate the upcoming season. This is my whole roasted eggplant: two ways. This recipe actually came up the day before the big snowstorm a few weeks back. I had been at my grocery store picking up food to cook for the snow day and when saw these beautiful graffiti eggplant. Maybe I was drawn to these vegetables because of what they symbolize to me — summer, warmth, family, good cooking— or maybe I just missed them, but I got them, and am happy to report they were delicious.

In Italy, eggplant is a staple. It is found in so many dishes; pasta, dips, caponata, panini, etc. They can be fried, grilled, roasted, sauteed, etc. For this recipe, I decided a simple roast would be best for extracting great flavor but that there is more than one way to enjoy this summer vegetable.

whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com
whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com

The first way is with tahini. I whipped together tahini and some water (you can also add citrus) and drizzled it on the eggplant. Its smooth, creamy, and nutty flavor goes so well with eggplant. Roasting eggplant creates caramelization and deep, earthy tones, so adding tahini just enhances the experience. Not pictured in these photos are crunchy toppings, but adding toasted cashews or sunflower seeds or something crunchy will add great texture alongside the soft flesh.

The second way is with a roasted tomato. That’s one ~fruit~ that’s hard to not enjoy year round. The difference between in and out of season tomatoes is almost non-comparable, as if the two were different species. But, when roasted, even winter tomatoes can be quite delicious and juicy. That is why, to accompany a summer vegetable, a summer fruit I thought would be perfect. Eggplant and tomato is a beautiful combination of acidic, creamy, juicy, and soft flavors that both hold herbs and flavors well. Perhaps that’s why they are in so many dishes and cuisines. Exploring them, both whole-roasted, allows you to really enjoy the eggplant/tomato on their own and together. I added few herbs and a clove of garlic to the tomatoes when roasting Most times I like creating a variety of textures, but somehow just the tomato and eggplant together is so juicy, soft and delicious, they almost melt together. But feel free to add nuts, seeds, or any garnish/topping you like.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s easy and quick to put together. Great for entertaining or for a snack, supplement, or lunch (bread too :)) , as there is not much prep or work, just oven space. Make 3, 4, 5, 6, or however many eggplants you want to serve. Enjoy and wishing you a happy spring!

whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com
whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com
whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com
whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com
whole roasted eggplant ~ friedparsley.com