Easy peasy. I don't know why I never had a fondness for eggplant earlier, but I do now... And it is in full swing! I made roasted eggplant with Chicken Shwarama a week before this, made this is a simple and healthy side, and will be making eggplant lasagna tonight! (Which, by the way will be part of my one week of dinners, and left over lunches for
2-4 for $100. AND it has fewer ingredients and less dishes. You're welcome! So keep your eyes open for that in the next few weeks.)
Back to eggplant... It really is delicious. It has this creamy texture and simple flavor that is tough to beat; and it goes with almost everything. Kind of like zucchini, it can be transformed into a variety of dishes; spanning many culinary and ethnic varieties. Maybe I didn't like eggplant earlier because I was cooking it wrong. Its not difficult at all! But now that I have figured it out, I absolutely LOVE it. If you're looking for a simple side dish that has little clean up (only 2 dishes, including your cutting board) then I've got your answer.
Serves 5-6 (as a side)
3 medium eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp garlic paste (you can find this in a tube in your grocers produce section)
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
feta for crumbling (1/2- 3/4 cup for all)
additional salt to prepare the eggplant
parsley, garnish, optional
1. Cut your eggplant into disks that are roughly 1"- 1 1/2" thick.
2. Take a salt shaker, and liberally sprinkle salt over all of the eggplant disks. Flip them over and repeat this process. (Don't dump the salt, but make sure that each piece has a good sprinkle.)
3. Allow the eggplant to sit on a cutting board (or anything besides your counter, toilet or floor really) for 20-30 minutes. The salt draws the excess water out of the eggplant, and makes it more tender during the cooking (and eating, yum) process.
4. Take a paper towel and wipe the excess salt off of the eggplant (both sides).
5. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic paste, lemon juice, dijon, salt and pepper.
6. Transfer the eggplant onto a baking sheet with a silicone mat (or parchment paper). I had to use two baking sheets, you will too. And if you don't have a silicone mat, buy one! Like now!
6. Take a basting brush and coat the tops of all of the eggplant disks. Go ahead and be generous with this mixture, and use it all!
7. Bake the eggplant for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. If its not slicing like butter, its probably not done.
8. When the eggplant is tender, remove it from the oven. You can either add the feta (and the optional parsley) to the baking and/or serving dish, or you can add them once they're on your plate.
Serve and Enjoy!