Roasted Baby Eggplant

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It’s been a busy week over here at IBIH and I haven’t had a chance to post in a few days!  I cooked up a storm this morning though, and I’m looking forward to sharing those recipes with you this week.

Saturday morning we went to the Ladson open air market, my favorite place to stock up on produce and get inspired.  I love it because it’s always cheap and you never know what you’re going to find.

This trip I came home with the usual huge stock of beautiful (did I mention cheap?????) produce, as well as some nice cherrystone clams and jumbo fresh shrimp.  We had clams casino and curried shrimp this weekend and they were delicious.  Sadly, I never got a chance to take photos (I know, so selfish!!!), so I’ll have to wait until next time to share them with you!

One thing I did find that I am excited to share are these beautiful baby eggplant.  I bought a ton of them because they were so pretty!  I wasn’t even sure how I would use them, I just knew I had to have them!

This morning I roasted some and I’ll be making the rest of them the same way, because they are just soooo delicious!  My husband isn’t usually a fan but I think even he might like these – a theory I’ll test out tonight.

If you can’t find baby eggplant (I’ll be attempting growing some of my own this year) I suspect you could slice a mature eggplant and roast the slices.  Then you could top it with the ricotta and drizzle it with olive oil just like I did with these.  In fact you could probably do it in strips and roll them up for an appetizer.  Note to self: do that soon.

When I made these I dipped into my stash of Wild Fennel Pollen which is expensive and has a delicate anise flavor.  I was conflicted about it because I realize not everyone reading this has it or can find it.  I got it at a specialty market awhile ago and have never seen it in a grocery store.  For that reason, I almost didn’t use it.

But I don’t want to dumb my recipes down and assume that you all can’t, or don’t want to go the extra mile to obtain and try out a new ingredient.  For me that’s half the fun and I suspect most of you are the same.  So if you can find it, I highly recommend using it!  But if you omit it, these will still taste incredible – they just won’t have the subtle anise flavor that mine did.

Makes 16 halves:

8 baby eggplant
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp Wild Fennel Pollen (optional)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
to serve:
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Kosher or sea salt to taste

 
Wash the eggplant and cut them into halves.  Place on a cookie sheet cut side up.  Drizzle with the olive oil and then sprinkle with the fennel pollen (if using), salt and pepper.  Bake in a 350 degree (F) oven for about 45 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Right before serving top with about a teaspoon of ricotta cheese per half.  Sprinkle with freshly cracked peppercorns (pink or mixed if you have them) and just a few grains of salt.  Drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil.  Based on my experiments, the best way to eat them is similar to an artichoke leaf.  Just sink your teeth in and pull, scraping off all of the delicious filling, and leaving the tough skin behind.

I also tried eating them with the skin, which wasn’t totally unpleasant, but I preferred them without it.  The roasted eggplant is beautifully sweet, and the cool, creamy ricotta creates a nice contrast.  These would make a perfect accompaniment to pretty much any roast meat, but are also deliciously satisfying on their own as a vegetarian option.  Can’t wait to hear what you think of them!  I’ll be eating the rest of mine for lunch today – Yum!

 

 

Approx nutrition info per half:  44cals, 4g fat, 1g carb, 1g fiber, 1g protein

 

For more great low carb recipes, download your copy of The Gluten Free Low Carber today!





  1. Paul Halliday
    Paul Halliday03-14-2012

    Nice! I happened upon these at a local supermarket and picked a few up, thinking they’d be fun. They were! Must buy some more and try this out. I love tangy feta with aubergine (as we’d call it in the UK), but ricotta sounds great.

    Thank you! Another great little idea to try out.

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)03-14-2012

      Hi Paul! Aubergine is so much nicer of a word than eggplant. I would change the title, but then a lot of people over here would have no idea what I was talking about! I haven’t had Feta in ages but I love it too. Now that you mention it I’ll have to put it on my shopping list for next time! Thanks and I hope you like the recipe!

    • liam @ the low carb recipes
      liam @ the low carb recipes03-15-2012

      I have that problem when I name my recipes when I use Aubergine!

      These baby eggplants look great tho, I have never seen them in any supermarkets around where I live, I will have to look a bit harder and give this recipe a go.

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)03-15-2012

      Hope you can find some Liam – they are fun to work with! If you can’t though, definitely try slices of the larger ones so you can at least get the flavors!

  2. Me and Jorge - Amber
    Me and Jorge - Amber03-14-2012

    Found your blog via Pinterest and low your low sugar/carb dishes! Would you consider listing the sugar content too? Everything looks delish and your photography is beautiful!

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)03-14-2012

      Hey Amber, yes I can start including that when relevant! I never use anything with sugar in it but occasionally there will be a gram or two in a vegetable I might use so I’ll start paying attention to that and including it where it’s more than 0. Love your photo progression – very inspiring!

  3. Matt Sevigny
    Matt Sevigny03-14-2012

    So, I didn’t get a chance to try these. Instead, you forged a burning hot curry that could make a tongue burst into flames. But it was very tasty and I enjoyed it….even though it will surely punish me tomorrow.

  4. onionchoco
    onionchoco03-15-2012

    The most beautiful side dish this year? This one! Love it. I fell in love with eggplant on my trip to Sicily. Yours looks so elegant and full of taste :) All the best ♥

  5. Amrita
    Amrita03-15-2012

    I think I’ve fallen in love with you. Considering what a raging carnivore I am, I’ve loved eggplants ever since I can remember. And these with fennel and ricotta look fabulous! In fact, I don’t think “fabulous” is a strong enough word even.

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)03-20-2012

      Thanks Amrita! Somehow your comment ended up in my spam folder and I just found it and published it – sorry about the delay! If you love eggplant then I think you’ll really enjoy these! Let me know!

  6. Jenn
    Jenn03-15-2012

    Thank you for explaining how to eat eggplant. I would have assumed to eat the skin and to maybe just cut it up like a potato. Good to know how to attack something. :)

    Btw, this looks delicious! I’m timid around eggplant as i don’t know how to prepare it, but this recipe looks super easy and yummo!

  7. ohkeeka
    ohkeeka03-18-2012

    I grow an eggplant a little bit smaller than this one in my garden and I never know what to do with them. Well, thanks to you, now I do. :) These are just gorgeous!

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)03-19-2012

      I’m totally in awe that you are able to grow them! I tried a few times in CT with poor results, this year will be my first attempt in SC! Fingers crossed! They are delicious this way and I hope you enjoy them too!

  8. VC
    VC04-22-2012

    Baby Egg Plants are very commonly available in the indian market and will be available in the indian grocery store. Its my favorite veggie and I have cooked it in different ways ( With peanut and coconut sauce, dry fry with ground spices, grilled and mashed to make a paste) Melissa I have tried your recipe too and it turned out so good. thanks for sharing

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)04-23-2012

      Thanks VC and thanks for all of those delicious ideas! Can’t wait to try some of them when my plants start producing this summer! :)

  9. cbwitzi
    cbwitzi07-08-2012

    We have one “baby eggplant” in our garden. The two we brought in were very bitter. They were about 3/4″ diameter & 2″ long. Were they perhaps not ripe yet? How big were the ones that you used?
    Cynthia in Minnesota

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)07-09-2012

      The ones I used were about 4 inches long and a few inches in diameter. If they were really bitter they were probably not ripe enough yet. My garden is doing dismally this year and I don’t even have one yet. I need to do some serious soil amending this fall to get a better yield next year!

  10. David DiBella
    David DiBella07-23-2012

    I have been buying baby eggplant for years, preparing and freezing them. Wash, cap and half the eggplant. Place in a gallon plastic bag with Italian spices: basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper and olive oil. Let sit for a few hours or over night in the fridge. I roast them at 325 for 45 minutes in the oven, turning once. Or I saute them on the grill in a S/S wire basket. When cool I portion them into smaller plastic bags and freeze. When I am having pasta I add them to the sauce and the flavor is amazing. By the way, they plump up in the sauce but still have that nice roasting char on them.

    • Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
      Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)07-27-2012

      That’s a great idea David, thanks for the tip! I never thought of freezing them after roasting but I’m going to do that next time I make a big batch!

  11. Sarah
    Sarah08-07-2012

    wondering if goat cheese could be used instead of cottage cheese for something different?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-20-2012

      Sarah I used ricotta not cottage cheese, but yes, I bet goat cheese would taste fantastic!

  12. Katie Gonzalez
    Katie Gonzalez10-05-2012

    I wonder if roasting fennel stocks with the eggplant would impart a nice flavor? Never thought to collect fennel pollen (wonder how?) But I love to grow it…so I have fronds, stalks, seed heads, and bulbs on hand…what would you try?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny10-09-2012

      Sounds delicious Katie! I bet it would be nice with the fronds if you chopped them up!

  13. Kree8
    Kree806-17-2013

    Thank you for the reciepe! Will definitely try this out and share.

  14. Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)
    Mellissa Sevigny (sevimel)03-15-2012

    Your welcome – hope you can find some but if not you can always try roasting slices of a larger one which would give you the same flavor! Or grow your own! :)

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