I will refrain from a long prelude today, and simply let your eyes feast and your mouth water. This dish is a perfect example of why Mediterranean cuisine wins my heart every time. A few simple, fresh ingredients married together in a way that creates something bigger than the sum of its parts. The creaminess of the eggplant, the vibrancy of the herbs, and the salty tang of the capers work together to create something really special.
I’ve served this at parties and it never fails to impress, and it takes very little skill in presentation and plating to make this look professional. Myself having very little skill in plating and presentation (but improving, slowly), that’s my kinda meal!
A few humble ingredients, working together for the greater good! This dish would be great served alongside some crusty bread and hummus, and some baked salmon or stewed lentils for protein.
Oven Roasted Eggplant with Herbed Shallot Vinaigrette
~ Gluten free, grain free, vegan ~
Recipe barely adapted from Two Dudes, One Pan
For the eggplant
- 6 medium Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise in 1/4 inch pieces
- olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
For the vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 shallots, finely diced (makes about 1.5 cups)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp capers, drained
- 1 tsp sucanat
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- After slicing the eggplant, lay them flat on a cutting board or paper towel and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer, and then use a paper towel to soak up the excess moisture and wipe off the salt.
- In a small bowl, mix together the fresh herbs, capers, sucanat, 2 tbsp olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Once the eggplant is ready, lay evenly on the parchment paper, without overlapping, and bake for approximately 15 minutes. The eggplant should be nicely browned on one side. If not, leave it in for another 5 minutes or so.
- Carefully flip each slice over, adding a splash of water to the pan if it seems very dry, and bake for another 5-10 minutes. I know the water sounds strange, but it does the same thing as adding more oil (adds moisture) without adding a ton of calories. I use this trick when sautéing as well.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until the shallots have begun to caramelize and are nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add to the herb mixture.
- Lay the eggplant slices in a serving platter, top with the herbed shallot vinaigrette, and serve immediately.
- This dish also tastes good at room temperature. I don’t recommend reheating in the microwave, since that will negatively impact the flavour and freshness of the herbs and capers. I wouldn’t worry about leftovers, though – every time I serve this with dinner or at a party, it disappears in no time!