From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT}borderstan.com
Eggplant stars in many vegetarian dishes, but it can satisfy everyone at the dinner table.
It is the vegetarianâ€™s lifesaver.Â A versatile vegetable and most frequently starring in the token meatless item on many menus (eggplant parmesan, bengan bharta, ratatouille, etc.).Â More than that though, itâ€™s fantastic for roasting and grilling; the starchy inner meat soaks up flavors like a sponge, and the outer skin tastes crispy and sweet when given a good char. One of my favorite sandwiches in the summer is grilled eggplant with arugula and heirloom tomatoes on fresh sourdough breadâ€”a satisfying alternative to burgers and hotdogs at cookouts.
At the market, they come in a range of varieties like the longer Japanese eggplant or the lighter, zebra striped Sicilian eggplant.Â Pick yours based on the size you prefer to handle chopping and inspect Â the skin to make sure it is firm, shiny, and free of blemishes or cracks.Â Color does not indicate any difference in flavor, but can be quite beautiful aesthetically.
By Â happenstance, I commandeered Jamaican Allspice from my motherâ€™s kitchen cabinet last time I went to visit her and found that it works wonderfully when paired with eggplantâ€”the vegetable soaks up all the flavor and balances it with its own sweetness.Â Let me know what you think!
Jamaican Spiced Eggplant
- One large eggplant or two small eggplants
- One red onion
- Jamaican Allspice
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Half cup almonds
- Quarter cup golden raisins
- Feta cheese
- Parsley to garnish
- Preheat oven to 425Â°.
- Mince garlic, cube eggplant into one-inch pieces, and slice red onion into half moons.
- In a large baking dish, arrange almonds, golden raisins and cut vegetables and coat in olive oil and Jamaican Allspice.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes until almonds are toasted and eggplant is browned.
- Garnish with parsley and feta cheese.
Serve as a side dish or over quinoa or couscous as a main course.
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