Valley Bounty: Eggplant
Eggplant appears widely in the cuisines of many cultures around the world, from its native India east into China, Korea, and Japan, and west into the Mediterranean and Middle East. I would imagine that at least part of the reason for that is the eggplant’s versatility; it lends itself to a variety of cooking styles, holding up well on the grill, in stir-fries, roasted, fried, and smashed, and it can absorb nearly any flavor profile it’s seasoned with.
I often bake my eggplant rather than fry it, since the former tends to be a bit easier and a bit less messy than the latter. Simply slice your eggplant into discs (I find this works best with relatively thin slices, a quarter of an inch or less), coat them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and some grated Parmesan if you have it handy, roast at 400°F for 25-30 minutes until the eggplant is soft and beginning to brown, then finish with a minute or so under the broiler on each side. This is great on its own or as a side dish, or you can top the eggplant slices with sliced tomato, mozzarella, and basil as a twist on caprese salad.
Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)