Saturday, August 21, 2010

Purple Power

From time to time, my culinary experimentation goes awry. There's a simple reason for this: I have no training whatsoever. The simple truth is that I don't even know how to boil an egg (seriously). But I usually fare well, or at least reasonably so. And this time around, I was pleasantly surprised. 

I decided a couple of weeks back that I wanted to try to work with eggplant, figuring that since I'm such a huge fan of eggplant parmigiana, I might like eggplant in other dishes, as well. (Eventually, I would like to work my way up to ratatouille, as I'm also a fan of zucchini, as well as the peppers that are usually included in most ratatouille dishes, but for now, I'm going to have to keep both feet on the ground.) So I realized, with a little help from Martha Stewart, that roasted eggplant was probably the way to go, but I didn't really like the plainness of that recipe, so I wanted to tweak it.

My garlic roasted eggplant recipe is, to say the least, imprecise: I simply mixed an unknown amount of McCormick California Style Garlic Salt with Parsley with a bit of salt (because I forgot that it was garlic salt, not garlic powder) and a bit of extra-virgin olive oil in a bag, then threw some eggplant slices in, shook them up to coat, and threw them on an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet, because if there's only one valuable thing I've ever learned in my kitchen, it's to use aluminum foil when roasting vegetables or baking chicken in the oven. Seriously. 

ANYWAY, throw them in until they start turning brown, and make sure to take them out before they dry up. They're not so bad. I would recommend using the garlic salt and nixing the regular salt (obviously). The temperature and duration will vary based on your equipment; I set mine to 425 and left the eggplant in for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan occasionally, but my oven is about half the size of a normal oven.

I paired the eggplant with Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Classic. While that was probably not the most beneficial combination, the salad itself is not terrible, although I have to say that it's a little too intense if you serve it straightaway; you might want to refrigerate the finished salad for awhile to take the edge off. (Because specific mixes are proprietary, I can't find a breakdown of the exact spices used, but I can tell you that there seems to be an awful lot of oregano in the dressing.) In the future, I might make a dinner of roasted chicken and eggplant instead.

If anyone has any other (simple) eggplant recipes, I'd love to hear them!


PS If you have a couple of hours on your hands, you might check out the McCormick website in its entirety. If you're any kind of fan of food, you will probably find it to be terribly fascinating.

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