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 vegetarian’s lifesaver. A versatile vegetable and most frequently starring in the token meatless item on many menus (eggplant parmesan, bengan bharta, ratatouille, etc.). More than that though, it’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 bread–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. Pick yours based on the size you prefer to handle chopping and inspect the skin to make sure it is firm, shiny, and free of blemishes or cracks. Color does not indicate any difference in flavor, but can be quite beautiful aesthetically.
By happenstance, I commandeered Jamaican Allspice from my mother’s kitchen cabinet last time I went to visit her and found that it works wonderfully when paired with eggplant–the vegetable soaks up all the flavor and balances it with its own sweetness. 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 425°.
- 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.