Did you all know that eggplant is a berry? I didn't, until I started surfing the web for things to do with the eggplant I picked up at the farmer's market on Saturday.
I wanted the eggplant as a side dish, and most of the recipes were for main dishes or appetizers and involved a lot more prep than I was willing to put in with a two year old demanding mommy time. However, I wasn't willing to give up, so I decided to wing it. The challenge was to prepare something with the ingredients I had on hand.
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan cheese.
1.) Slice eggplant into 1/4" thick rounds and place onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. I sprayed the cookie sheet with no stick spray, or you can brush olive oil onto the sheet to prepare it. Brush each eggplant round with olive oil.
2.) Sprinkle the rounds with sea salt and black pepper and place into a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees. Bake for 5 minutes.
3.) Slice the tomatoes into thin rounds and coarse chop the 2 ounces of Parmesan cheese. You can also choose to grate it... I couldn't find my grater.
4.) After taking the eggplant out of the oven, lay one tomato slice on each eggplant, then sprinkle the Italian seasoning and dried basil on top of the tomato. Follow this with Parmesan cheese on top of the tomato.
5.) Set the oven to broil, and slid the prepared eggplant rounds back into the oven on the top rack. Broil for five minutes, until cheese is browned on top.
6.) Serve warm.
Okay, I just have to say that before trying the eggplant this way, I had not been eggplant-friendly. However, in the name of better eating I figured I'd pick some up and give it a try. I am so glad that I did. It tasted great, and was very filling. I'll be taking the leftovers to work tomorrow for a light lunch.
In the name of full disclosure, I will say that I'll probably be switching out cheeses next time I prepare this. The Parmesan tasted great toasted, but Provolone or feta cheese would probably work just as well. I'd even be tempted to try something with a smokey flavor. One could probably eliminate the sea salt entirely. I'm not even sure I could tell that it was there, and I will probably use fresh ground pepper next time.