Eat Your Vegetables: Gauge cooking time by size of eggplant _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Easy Baked Eggplant

ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Easy Baked Eggplant

Serves 4. Recipe is by Corinne Cook. This can easily be doubled or tripled. To prepare these ahead of time, bake as above through step 5. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve them, drizzle with olive oil and place in preheated 375 F oven or steam them in a small amount of water in a covered skillet until they were heated through and tender.

2 eggplants, preferably small to medium

Salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Salt, black pepper, dried oregano to taste

Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Italian seasoned Panko-style breadcrumbs

Olive oil

1. Wash and dry outside of eggplant. Cut in half lengthwise but do not peel.

2. Using a paring knife, cut down but not all the way through the fleshy part of the eggplant, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell. Now, cut that fleshy part into 1-inch squares or a diagonal pattern; not cutting all the way through peeling.

3. If you are using a large eggplant, sprinkle salt over the cut surface and set aside on a paper towel for at least 30 minutes. After salting, lightly rinse then lightly squeeze to remove some of the water. Pat top dry with paper towel.

4. Heat oven to 375 F. Smear 1 tablespoon butter over the top and between cut edges of each eggplant half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Season generously with dried oregano. Cover top with finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese then top with a layer of breadcrumbs. Place in baking pan. Repeat with remaining eggplants.

5. Bake in preheated 375 F for 45 minutes or until tender.

6. Drizzle tops with olive oil and continue baking for additional 15 minutes or until flesh is soft.