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Eggplant often gets a bad rap. Some people find it mushy, while others dismiss it as stringy or even tasteless. But if it's prepared well, eggplant can be an extremely satisfying meat substitute and, when joined with a few tomatoes and fresh herbs, the perfect summer meal.
Often people will fry up their eggplant (which isn't half-bad, I'll be the first to admit) or douse it with loads of olive oil and cheese while baking in the oven. This recipe doesn't try to dress it up like that. It lets eggplant stand on its own, which is nice, especially in the hot summer months.
This Braised Eggplant with Tomatoes recipe is highly adaptable. If you have farmer's market tomatoes ripening on your windowsill, use those instead of canned tomatoes. Maybe you've got a few zucchinis or a jar of capers you've wanted to use up. Throw those in, too. I make this recipe often, and sometimes I lay some spinach in the bottom of the pan and place the eggplant right on top -- this way you've got wilted, flavorful spinach to go along with your simple braised eggplant.
Braised Eggplant and Tomatoes Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
Braised Eggplant and Tomatoes Recipe Ingredients
1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes (or about 3-4 fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Braised Eggplant and Tomatoes Recipe Directions
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place eggplant halves in a 9- by 9-inch pan, cut sides up. Sprinkle each half with about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reserve the remaining salt for later use.
In a small skillet over medium heat, saute onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil until translucent, about five minutes. Transfer onions into a small bowl and stir in the tomato, basil, parsley and remaining salt. Scoop the tomato mixture on top of the eggplant. Pour remaining olive oil into the bottom of the pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes.
Baste eggplant with the liquid in the pan, then re-cover and bake for 15 more minutes. Baste again and bake until eggplants are soft and tender, uncovered, about 20 additional minutes.
Braised Eggplant and Tomatoes Recipe - Giving Eggplant Its Due
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