Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spice Roasted Eggplant

Two Christmases ago one of my dearest friends gifted me a cookbook called Simply In Season because she knew I had just joined a CSA and thought this cookbook based around seasonal produce would come in handy.  I'm embarrassed to say that this week was the first time I dove into the recipes.  That tends to be my relationship with cookbooks, I hoard them, if they have pictures I will drool over them, but once they get on my shelf, I always seem to forget to flip through them rather than sit and ponder what I should make.  Now with Pinterest, my cookbooks have really been feeling neglected.  But thanks to my personal social media fast for Lent, I've been left without my easy compilation of recipes, which meant my cookbooks finally made it back off the shelf, and Simply In Season was the first one I went to.

I was originally on a hunt for something different to do with asparagus, because I wanted to break out of my usual tried and true ways (in pasta, grilled, roasted, sauteed, in risotto, or as "fries").  And I did find a recipe for "sugared" asparagus that I'll be trying out in the next few nights.  But what really caught my eye was this recipe for Spice Roasted Eggplant from a woman in Senegal.  So tonight I baked up some za'atar crusted chicken and paired it with this delicious eggplant recipe.  The original only called for a pinch of cinnamon, but I'm a sucker for cinnamon so I increased it to a whole 1/8 tsp and I thought it was a lovely sweet balance to the heavy spice of the cumin.  For those of you who are cilantro-phobes, you could easily substitute parsley, basil or especially Thai basil.  And if  you have a grill, this would be delicious as grilled eggplant!  The charmoula-like sauce would make a great marinade for fish or chicken or poured over some skirt steak, much like a chimichurri sauce.  So this is definitely one recipe that can take you in multiple directions, especially as the weather continues to warm up!

Spice Roasted Eggplant


1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 bundle cilantro, chopped (or use another herb like parsley or basil)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your broiler on high heat and set top rack in the middle of oven.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro and spices until well combined.  Then with a pastry brush, brush the marinade onto both sides of the eggplant rounds and arrange onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
About to get a suntan!

Broil eggplant on middle rack for about 10 minutes total, flipping about mid-way through.  You want to get both sides nice and golden and slightly crisp the skin, so keep and eye to make sure nothing is burning.

Would also be great to turn into a stacked salad with some fresh tomato slices, goat cheese and a few sprinkles of coarse-ground salt and a drizzle of olive oil!

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