Wait. I can’t do this.
I can’t write that “Aren’t these adorable little eggplants I found at the Union Square Farmers Market and look at the wonderful dish I made using them!” blog post I was planning to write.
It would be a lie.
Not because I didn’t buy these little babies, or roast them up with garlic and lemon and olive oil and mint to serve alongside roast lamb chops at a dinner party to a bunch of friends who ate them up so quickly that we wished we’d made more. I actually did all those things.
It’s because the one thing I did not do was eat these adorable little eggplants. Because I don’t like eggplant.
Really. I swear, I am not kidding. I can’t stand eggplant.
I know, I know. You like eggplant. You are not alone on this, trust me. Everyone loves eggplant. Everyone, of course, but me.
I know what you’re thinking – How could anyone not love eggplant?
If you really want to know, I’ll tell you. But I’m a little worried that when I tell you, you won’t like eggplant anymore either. Then you’ll hate me for making you hate eggplant and I’ll feel guilty for ruining every future eggplant experience you might have had. So if you’re easily influenced, or worried on this particular issue or wavering even the slightest bit on the whole eggplant thing, then you might just want to stop reading right now and skip down to the recipe at the bottom, which was really very good according to your eggplant-loving compatriots who ate it.
But if you’re still reading, I’ll tell you why I hate eggplant.
It’s the texture. That sort of rubbery soft sensation that feels like you’re eating something you’re really not supposed to be eating. Like…maybe… Oh, I don’t know.. a cooked alien? Seriously, I think if we were to grill up ET and serve him, he would taste just like an eggplant. And if you leave the skins on – well, now to top it all off, you’ve just made my teeth squeak.
It took me years to convince Mr TBTAM that I am not an eggplant lover. He’d cook it up and offer it to me, over and over again, as if he’d never heard what I told him last time he’d made it, which was “I don’t like eggplant”. Or we’d be shopping for something to cook for dinner, and he’d say “How about eggplant?” or “Don’t these eggplants look delicious?” and I would remind him, yet again, that I DON”T LIKE EGGPLANT. Each time would be a new disappointment for him, and he’d look at me as if he had just realized that I was not the person he’d hoped he married.
Of course, being married 24 years, he’s gotten the point by now, and has taken to broiling his own eggplant when he wants it, then ignoring me while he eats it, or ordering Chinese eggplant when we are out, but then of course I can’t share it, even though he’s gotten half of my pan fried noodles. Fine.
My eggplant dislike is well-known in my husband’s family. I think it may have been a bigger issue for his mother than me not being Jewish, which actually, never seemed to be an issue. Of course, in that family, food is like politics, and we all know where every one stands. Peggy hates eggplant. My brother-in-law doesn’t like fish, but loves milk. Irene used to hate cilantro, but now she likes it in small quantities, but she still doesn’t like goat cheese. Mr TBTAM’s sister doesn’t like sugar in her whipped cream, should we make two separate batches or not? His other sister actually swore off garlic, which in my family would be sort of like me leaving the Catholic church, but worse.
Of course, in my family no one cares what food you like or dislike. They’re too busy eating.
The single exception to my “I don’t eat eggplant” rule was Augergines in Spicy Honey Sauce, which actually looks like a cooked alien but tastes wondrous. Maybe it was because the eggplant is called an “Aubergine”, which distracted me long enough to actually taste the eggplant. But I think it was the honey. I’ll pretty much eat anything if it’s sweet. Which is not to say that if I am coming over for dinner, you should go looking for a great honey Aubergine recipe to serve me, because really, I can pretty much promise you I won’t like it.
But I can promise you that you will love this recipe for roasted baby eggplant. After all, how could you not? Those little things really are adorable.
Just like ET.
Roasted Baby Eggplant
I modified a recipe I found on the Real Simple website. We added in a bunch of those tiny baby onions up there in the photo. Those I ate.
12 baby eggplant
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Cut the lemon in half. Thinly slice on of the halves into 12 slices, then cut each slice in half crosswise. Insert the lemon slices into the slit in each eggplant, then press some garlic and mint into each slit. Season with the salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the other lemon half and drizzle over the eggplants with the oil. Cover with foil and roast, basting frequently with the juices in the dish, until the eggplants are very soft, about 40 minutes.
Remove foil and roast for 5 more minutes. Transfer to individual plates and serve.