A while back, we ordered take-out from a new local Japanese restaurant. I have a soft spot for Black Cod so I was thrilled when I saw it on the menu. It came with the most divine side: eggplant. Not just ordinary eggplant. It was cut into a round. And it literally melted in my mouth. I finally figured out how they did it. The key is to sear it before you bake it. This way, it doesn’t soak up a ridiculous amount of oil. This is one of those recipes that doesn’t require a recipe. My favorite kind.
My farmer Sam brought some of his white eggplants to the farm stand a few weeks ago. He highly recommended them because this particular (Japanese) variety had significantly less seeds than the purple variety. Not that I ever even considered the seeds as being an overbearing component to the vegetable. But, I admit I was intrigued. I bought four. He was so right: they were amazing.
Eggplant should be cooked the same day that it has been picked. It loses nutrients more rapidly than you would think. Eggplant is a non-starchy vegetable containing about ninety percent water, so it is naturally low in calories. And the skin is nutrient dense. If you can’t find organic, buyer beware, conventional eggplant is covered in wax.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash then slice the ends off the eggplant.
- Cut into rounds, about 3/4 of an inch thick .
- Brown for 4-5 minutes per side on a non-stick griddle (with nothing on it: no salt, oil: nothing)
- Place the rounds on a parchment lined shallow baking dish.
- Using a pastry brush, use a small amount of oil (1-2 Tbsp for total recipe) to lightly brush the tops of the eggplant rounds.
- Sprinkle with salt (don’t be too stingy with the salt here).
- Bake for 20 minutes then serve. (Baking time depends on how thickly you cut your slices)