The word "aubergine" conjures up images of deep purple fruit, rich and shining in the South of France sun.
It so closely resembles the word for inn, “auberge,” that it is a welcoming word. I certainly welcome the time of year when l’aubergine hang heavy on the plants in my little garden.
My plants are bearing small fruit, but I still buy eggplant every time I see it at the farm market. It is low in calories and low on the glycemic index, which makes it the perfect vegetable, in my cookbook.
For years my eggplant repertoire was simply ratatouille or eggplant Parmesan. Then I began including eggplant with other vegetables for roasting.
It's easy and quick: Cut up eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers, even potatoes and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon each of freshly chopped rosemary and thyme. I often toss in whole garlic cloves or grind in a garlic-rosemary mix I found in the spice section of a local grocery store. Bake on parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet in a preheated, 400-degree oven.
Cooking times vary, depending on the quantity and cut of the vegetables. I check them every 8-10 minutes, turning with a spatula.
Once the vegetables are sufficiently golden-brown, sprinkle on sea salt or a pinch of herbes de Provence. Excellent with pork, chicken, beef, or seafood.
Recently I discovered Ashbury's Aubergines, home to more than 3,000 eggplant recipes. Among them: Pecan-Crusted Eggplant, Baked Aubergines and Almonds, Hot and Sour Eggplant Salad, Lemon-Dilled Eggplant and Summer Squash, Sautéed Eggplant with Basil and an astonishing collection of ethnic takes on this wonderful and versatile vegetable. There is so much you can do with eggplant. Who knew?
A few blogs that featured eggplant recently:
• Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen
• Cook Almost Anything at Least Once
And hot off the keyboard...Eggplant Parmesan with Kalyn's Incredible Marinara Sauce from Christine Cooks.