At some point–I’m not sure when, I didn’t eat it much growing up–eggplant became one of my favorite vegetables. They’re also one of the more photogenic vegetables, so here’s a watercolor painting I did of one before I slayed it for my dinner.
This a recipe I came up with a few weeks ago that is now my favorite way to cook eggplant. It’s easy and doesn’t take too long and is ~delicious~.
1 or 2 eggplants depending on size
Good bread (whatever that means to you)
Cheese (I recommend smoked gouda)
Slice the eggplant into rounds approximately half an inch thick. Salt heavily, let sit at least 15 minutes, then pat dry. Flip the rounds over and repeat. The goal is to get as much water out of the eggplant as possible, this will keep the texture from going weird.
In your favorite skillet, heat a generous amount of olive oil on medium heat and place as many round as will fit without overlapping. Season with the lemon pepper and sumac (I made this once without sumac and once with) and let sit for a bit, gently moving the eggplant around the skillet to prevent sticking. After they’ve cooked for a bit, flip the rounds, and dap each round with a drop of balsalmic vinegar. Don’t be alarmed if the vinegar gets away from you and some of the eggplant ends with significantly more than a drop, it’ll still taste fine. Throw on some more spices. Saute until the rounds start to look a little dried out. It shouldn’t take too long.
Repeat in batches as necessary until all the rounds are cooked, adding more olive oil as needed to keep the skillet from getting dry. Set aside. You can stop here if you like and just eat the eggplant as a side dish. Or main dish.
In the same skillet, add more oil then toast slices of bread topped with slices of cheese and tomato until the cheese is melted. Top with the eggplant rounds, and enjoy!
Appologies for the total lack of measurements in the above. I found it very frustrating when I was learning to cook and my mom wouldn’t tell me measurements for family recipes, saying to just do everything to taste–seriously, our family chili “recipe” is a list of ingredients and the instructions to cook until it’s done–but anymore I tend to eyeball amounts unless I’m following an unfamiliar recipe or I know precision is important. Not surprisingly, I much prefer cooking to baking. I CAN bake, but it bothers me that there’s a point of no return where I have to stick the whatever in the oven and hope there wasn’t a fatal flaw somewhere. Whereas I feel like anything I cook on the stovetop I can fix if it goes wrong.