My mother was a wonderful cook but she had this thing about keeping her recipes a secret - including from me, even though we were very close. Unfortunately, she passed away without giving me a single recipe. However, I remember this dish and when I cook it, I think of her.
The ingredients are pretty simple - eggplant and plum tomatoes plus salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. My mother grated tons of fresh parmasan cheese on top before roasting. I skip the parmasan when the eggplant is a side dish for salmon, which I did last night, and branzino as I did the night before. The branzino and salmon had Mediterranean oregano sprinkled on top, so I incorporated oregano in the eggplant this time. I've used herbes de provence, too. It's nice to add a little color.
First, you cut the top off the eggplant the cut in half length-wise. Score a checkerboard pattern on top, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. (This creates bite-sized chunks which are easier to extract from the eggplant.) I take the knife and scrape away some of the seeds on the surface.
Next, take plum tomatoes and slice. Plum tomatoes are pretty bland if you eat them raw, but roasting them really enhances their flavor. They are also the perfect size to fit on the eggplant. I think my mother used regular sized tomatoes so feel free to substitute if you wish.
Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. I bought a pretty big eggplant and couldn't eat the whole thing on Wednesday night. So I stored half in tupperware and put it in the fridge until I was ready to serve it with last night's dinner.
When heating up left over eggplant I squeeze fresh lemon juice on top to revive it and reheat in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Here's the eggplant fresh out of the oven on Wednesday night
Last night's dinner: Grilled Salmon and Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes
If you're vegan, this eggplant dish could make a nice main course - perhaps with roasted asparagus on the side? I will recreate some other dishes that I remember my mother made in future posts. She would have been aghast back in the day if I shared her recipes. Today, I think it's a nice way to honor her memory. Love and miss you, Mom.
1 medium eggplant
3 medium plum tomatoes per eggplant
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Mediterranean oregano or herbes de provence (optional)
or 1/2 cup grated fresh parmasan
Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees
Cut top off eggplant, then slice length-wise
Score eggplant in a checkerboard pattern, about 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep
Drizzle oil on top of both eggplant halves
Slice plum tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste
Arrange tomatoes on top of both eggplant halves; drizzle with remaining olive oil
Sprinkle oregano or herbes de provence and/or the parmasan evenly on tomatoes over both halves
Place in oven proof casserole dish or pan (I use my Le Creuset with the non-stick surface)
Roast for 20 - 30 minutes
Serve immediately and enjoy!