Spiced Roasted Eggplant
My love for roasted vegetables has grown over time. I have been trying different vegetables and so many of them roast so well. Here is one of my favorites. This one is spicy, if you do not want to have it spicy – you can reduce the amount of sambal olek. The brown sugar caramelizes really well and is a really nice balance to the spice.
In addition, you can roast other vegetables along with this – green beans, thinly sliced onions etc.
- 4 Japanese eggplants
- 3 tablespoons Sambal Olek (use less for a less spicy version)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Turn your oven to 350F. Line your baking tray with foil.
Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut the tops off and then split the eggplants in half. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts in the inside of the eggplant. Do not cut all the way through.
Make a paste of the sambal olek, olive oil, brown sugar, olive oil and salt. Spread this paste on the eggplant.
Drizzle olive oil on the panko crumbs to moisten and then distribute evenly on the tops of the eggplants.
Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
I have begun baking a lot of veggies. It is quick, easy and the results are simply delicious. I have tried this with a variety of eggplants but the long Japanese ones seem to turn out the best. You can vary the amount of sambal olek (found at your local farmers market or Asian store). Its a spicy Indonesian cooking paste that is simply divine. The brown sugar adds a subtle sweetness to the dish. I added the bread crumbs just to add a little bit of crunch as the eggplant becomes really soft. Using Panko bread crumbs gives you a much better result than regular finely shredded crumbs.
You can serve these as appetizers or as part of a main course. Pair it on top of rice, couscous, quinoa or alongside other veggies. You can also bake other veggies in the same tray along with this (chunk of red onions – tossed in olive oil, green beans …. ). Let your imagination run wild – or as it happens with me – what do I have to use from my refrigerator :-).
Total time : prep – 10 minutes, cook 25 minutes
- 2 long purple eggplants
- 2 tablespoons sambal olek sauce
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350F . Line a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.
Mix together the sambal, brown sugar, lemon juice, minced garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil for the sauce.
Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Score the eggplant across at an angle and then score it the other way (you are attempting to get the sauce into the eggplant when it bakes). Generously coat the cut and scored side of the eggplant with the sauce. Place the eggplant flesh side up on the lined baking tray.
Moisten the Panko bread crumbs with the remaining olive oil. Use more if the crumbs are not all evenly moistened. Pat the bread crumbs on to the top of each of the eggplants.
Bake for 25 minutes until the eggplant is cooked through and the crust has formed.
Optional : You can also top with shredded cheese. Do this about 5 minutes before you are going to remove it from the oven.
Okay I have a confession to make – I love cookware and am constantly buying kitchen wares – well constantly is relative. Bloomingdale’s is closing their Perimeter store and I just had to go check out the bargains. I came away with the Le Creuset croquettes in my favorite color. They were 20% off. I will have to say this about Bloomies, they are smart they have a sale going on in their other stores where a lot of the stuff is much cheaper but here they only have it off the original price so check their website before you buy here – that is if you are in Atlanta at the Perimeter store :-). Yes I am a bargain hunter!.
So this recipe is tried with a few things all obtainable from the Farmers market on Buford highway just outside the perimeter. The store is amazing, they have items from all over the world. Their fresh veggie and fruit section is vast. I got a Thai white eggplant and was going to try an Indian dish with it but decided to become a little creative. This is what I came up with.
Makes 2 le creuset croquettes
- 1 medium thai white eggplant sliced
- 2 cups rotini
- 4 tbsp sun dried tomatoes heaping
- 2 tbsp Rocoto Red hot pepper paste
- 2 cups grated cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Wash and dry the eggplant. Slice off the top of the eggplant to remove the stem. Then make thin slices of the eggplant. Brush both sides of the sliced eggplant with olive oil and then grill them till you get the nice charred grill marks on them. I used the indoor Cuisinart to do my grilling.
Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of water in a saucepan. Once hot put in the pasta and let it cook. Once its cooked, drain the water from the pasta and pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and toss. Add the cheese and the rocoto pepper paste and toss again.
Turn on your oven to 350F.
Line your little le creuset croquettes with the grilled eggplant, going round the sides and letting the slices drape over the sides. Fill the croquettes with pasta and then top off with the sun dried tomatoes. Fold the hanging pieces of the eggplant over the top of the pasta. Put the croquettes in the oven and bake them for 20 minutes. Take them out let them cool a little and serve.
I must say they were yummy!