Eggplant’s subtle blend of textures and flavors pairs perfectly with ripe cherry tomatoes. Try this recipe from The Can’t Cook Book.
ACTUAL WORK TIME: 10 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes | MAKES: 4 sides or 2 main dishes
Cooking eggplant seems difficult and labor intensive, doesn’t it? Well, here it’s not. You can also spread this on a slice of crusty country bread or use as a pasta sauce. Or fab leftovers.
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
4 cloves garlic
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
6 sprigs thyme
1/2 c. e.v. olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Tools needed: 2½ – to 3-qt. baking dish, cutting board, chef’s knife, measuring cups and spoons, large spoon, kitchen timer.
Don’t Panic: Cutting the eggplant into cubes is a cinch, I promise.
1. Heat the oven (with the oven rack in the middle) to 400°F. Wash the eggplant. Cut off and discard the stem. Next, cut the eggplant into 1-inch-thick rounds. Stack 2 rounds at a time, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Smash the garlic and peel.
2. Place the eggplant and garlic in a 2 1/2- to 3-qt. baking dish. Wash the tomatoes and thyme and add to the dish. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt, red pepper, and black pepper (about 12 turns on a pepper mill). Toss together with your hands until the eggplant is coated with oil (a little overcrowding in the dish is okay).
3. Roast until the eggplant is really soft and tender, 50 to 60 minutes. (Set your timer, and at 40 minutes, give the vegetables a quick stir.)
Buy eggplant that is smooth-skinned, evenly firm, and without soft spots. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.