Just arrived back home from a great weekend at brother Joey and Mark’s sunny retreat in LA and was starving but with a mountain of work to do in the garden, had little time to head to the market….hmmm. Toodled out to the garden to see if there were any end of season veggies and lo and behold, I spied two cute little eggplants still clinging to the plant. Bingo! I just finished Marlena de Blasi’s little novel ‘A Thousand Days in Tuscany’ – a great little gem of a book…love, romance, food and life in Tuscany. She lovingly described a neighbor walking up the hill with a dish of eggplant freshly roasted in the oven and soaking up a marinade of mouthwatering olive oil, garlic and herbs followed by the creamy eggplant being scooped upon fresh toasted bread….aahh, I could imagine the aromas wafting across my kitchen…so with the planets aligned, I headed back into the kitchen.
This recipe is super, super simple and the roasting of the eggplant brings out the wonderfully creamy flavor. After roasting the eggplant, pour over the marinade while still hot so it can absorb all the wonderful flavors. Then just serve at room temperature with a pile of freshly toasted crostini so one can poke through the skin and lather the yummy creamy eggplant on the crostini. Enjoy…
Roasted Eggplant Antipasto
2 small baby eggplants
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Basil, Parsley (or other favorite herbs) – about 1 tablespoon each
Sea salt, to taste
1 loaf Italian bread for crostini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce outer skin of eggplant all over with a fork . Rub outside of eggplant with olive oil. Roast on baking sheet until eggplant is soft and skin has collapsed – about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Make a marinade of extra virgin olive oil (about 1/3 cup), chopped herbs and salt. Mix well.
Place eggplant in a dish that will hold the eggplant and the marinade. Poke additional holes in the skin to allow the wonderful marinade to soak into the flesh of the eggplant. Pour over the marinade while still hot. Allow to rest.
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices and spread on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degress until crisp – about 5-7 minutes. Serve with the roasted eggplant to allow folks to poke through the skin and spread the creamy eggplant on the crostini and enjoy….