If ever there was a controversial vegetable out there, it may be the Eggplant... Either people love it or hate it, or just think they don't like it because they've never tried it. Or possibly they've had an unfortunate experience with Eggplant... When not cooked properly it can be a soggy mushy mess of bitter tasting goo- when cooked properly it is transformed into a magical delight for the culinary senses. Eggplant is packed with "healthy for you" goodness, but don't let that sway you from enjoying it's distinctive flavor. I love knowing that when I prepare Eggplant for my family, it's not just a meal, it's also something to provide us with great health! It's packed with fiber, protein, a hearty amount of B vitamins, vitamins A and C, and folate. There are so many wonderful attributes to the Eggplant, it is beyond what I can convey in this post, but just know that when you eat Eggplant you are doing something great for yourself and your family! Eggplant is part of the "Nightshade" family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. People used to be afraid of eating all Nightshades, if you go back a couple hundred years in history you'll see that your ancestors probably would never touch the stuff. Mandrake and "Deadly" Nightshade are a part of the same family, and can kill you, but we now know that tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes and peppers are safe for human consumption. So eat your eggplant without fear! And enjoy the many ways there are to serve eggplant! One of my very favorite ways to cook eggplant is to roast it. Actually, give me any vegetable to prepare, and my first thought would be roasting! In my mind, there is no better way to cook a vegetable to bring out it's depth of flavor and slight sweetness, it basically caramelizes the vegetables as they roast. So today I will focus on a very simple and tasty recipe, that I hope you will try out sometime for a quick and hearty lunch or snack! Delicious alone, or even better with a Greek salad on the side! There will be more Eggplant recipes on the way, as I would love to help get rid of its bad rap, and boost the consumption of Eggplant! But for now, here is my recipe:
Roasted Eggplant Mediterranean Flatbreads
2 medium Eggplants, about 8 inches long
1 medium sweet yellow onion
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, or to taste
3-4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
4 flatbreads, (the kind without a pocket)
1. First, thinly slice the eggplants and onion, about 1/4 inch thick. Slice the eggplants vertically, so the slices are long and wide, not round. If you are worried about bitterness you can try this trick: After you slice the eggplant sprinkle salt on each slice, both sides, and set aside for about 1/2 an hour. This will cause the slices to "sweat" and release the bitterness. Then simply rinse off to remove the excess salt, and dab with paper toweling to remove excess moisture. Also, the peel of eggplant may be tough at times, so you may remove the peel if you desire. It is purely personal choice. I leave the peel on when I slice the eggplant very thinly, but if you don't want the chewy texture, simply slice it off.
2. Place the sliced eggplant and onions in a bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Stir well to evenly coat the eggplant and onions.
3. Evenly spread the eggplant and onion on a large baking sheet, and place under a broiler (450-500 degrees) for about 8-10 minutes, then stir well. Roast until golden and aromatic, about 10 minutes per side.
4. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven, and place the 4 flatbreads under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes to warm. Evenly divide the roasted vegetables over the warmed flatbread. Evenly distribute the crumbled feta over the flatbreads and return to the broiler for about 4-5 minutes, till the feta is slightly melted and warmed through.
5. Remove from the broiler, serve and ENJOY! :)
OPTIONAL additions: These flatbreads are just delicious as they are, but if you want a really special treat add a little Tzatziki and a bit of finely chopped salad of tomato, cucumber, fresh Italian Parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. DELICIOUS! :)