Eggplant and I have a tenuous relationship. My first introduction to it was in college, when my roommate Kaitlyn made me eggplant parmesan. This was when I first realized eggplant was not the enemy, but could be a delicious marinara and cheese covered friend. On the other hand, I’ve had giant chunks of eggplant appear in side dishes and been unappreciative of the eggplant’s texture.
Kaitlyn’s love for eggplant extends far beyond eggplant parmesan, so when this issue of Food and Wine appeared in my mailbox a few hours before she came over, it seemed like fate. I was a bit concerned because there were no pictures of the finished dish in the magazine, possibly indicating it was a D-level recipe, so I bought an emergency backup of goat cheese and pita crackers. These proved to be unnecessary.
This is a good kind of eggplant dish. If you consider eggplant to be a good friend, one you’d text little eggplant emoji’s to ironically, you’ll adore this eggplant bake. The eggplant chunks are tossed in olive oil and roasted with spring onions or scallions, with a little bit of butter, then topped and baked with lemon ricotta and bread crumbs. Roasting the eggplant gives it a silky texture, and the bread provides a good crunchy contrast.
I will say, if you have never had eggplant before and consider it to be a frightening purple enemy, this might not be a good gateway dish. It is very prominently eggplant. I suggest you find a nice friend or roommate to make you eggplant parmesan instead.
End-of-Summer Eggplant Bake
(Food and Wine, August 2014) – Recipe by Jessica Koslow
- The recipe had a GLARING ERROR and did not have parmesan cheese on top. I remedied that.
- I preferred the eggplant that had been cut into smaller chunks. It had roasted nicely and had a better flavor and texture.
- I used a teaspoon of dry parsley instead of the tablespoon of fresh.
- If you want to pat yourself on the back for being smart, line your baking sheets with aluminum foil. No pan cleaning, and you can fold the eggplant inside the foil to transfer it to your baking dish.
- 2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
- Kosher salt
- 2 spring onions or 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 ounces country white bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 450°. On 2 baking sheets, spread the eggplant in an even layer. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, toss the spring onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions to the eggplant and dot with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes longer, stirring, until the eggplant is tender.
- In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta with the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Lightly grease a 2-quart, 2-inch-deep baking dish. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the baking dish. Dollop with the ricotta mixture and scatter the bread on top. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is golden.