Braised Eggplant & Tomatoes with Toast

Braised Eggplant & Tomatoes with Toast

We are jumping straight into the CSA box with eggplant! As I said before, neither Will nor I really like eggplant. In hindsight, I think this is because most eggplant I have had was undercooked and thus a weird chalky texture.

Because of my eggplant inexperience, I scoured the Internet for tips and inspiration. I considered a number of different cooking methods before landing on this recipe from the Kitchn for braised eggplant with tomatoes.

Braising was especially attractive because I knew the braising process would make the eggplant to be super tender and moist; the total opposite of chalky and undercooked. This recipe did not disappoint! The mixture of tomatoes, herbs, capers, and kalamata olives were basically the equivalent of bruschetta on top of melt in your mouth soft eggplant. I couldn’t resist serving it with some crusty bread to sop up the extra liquid that I toasted with olive oil while the eggplant finished cooking.

I used cherry tomatoes for the topping instead of the canned tomatoes used in the original. I also added capers and kalamata olives for a salty element. In total, the eggplant, tomatoes, and onions were all from the CSA.

First, we start with all of our ingredients. Eggplants, cherry tomatoes, onion (don’t worry, I didn’t use the whole thing), parsley, basil, capers, and olives.

The ingredients: Parsley, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, basil, onion, capers, and kalamata olives.

Eggplants are halved, salted, and placed in a pan. My eggplants were a bit undersized so you might need a larger pan.

Eggplants in greased pan.
Eggplants in greased pan.

Onions are softened in olive oil and left in pan. With heat off, mix together with the tomatoes, herbs, olives, and capers.

Onion, tomato, herb, mixture.
Onion, tomato, herb, mixture.

Topping is heaped on top of the eggplant. Put on as much on as you can! I had some topping leftover because my eggplants were so small. It was great raw on toast the next day. Pan is covered and baked at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Take it out and baste, then bake another 15 minutes. Baste again and return to oven uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes.

Eggplants topped with tomato mixture, ready for the oven.
Eggplants topped with tomato mixture, ready for the oven.

While the eggplant is cooking, make some toast! I brushed slices of baguette with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Do you know why toast in restaurants tastes so much better than at home? It’s because of salt and pepper!

Toasted baguette.
Toasted baguette.

Eggplant comes out of the oven and is served with the toast. Look at how elegant that looks!

Finished dish: silky eggplant with tomato topping and toast.
Silky smooth eggplant with tomato topping. Perfect with a side of toast.

 

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Braised Eggplant with Tomatoes and Toast

The tomatoes release their juices as they cook, tenderizing the eggplant until silky smooth. The tomato topping is a classic Italian combination of tomatoes, herbs, and salty capers and olives. A delicious and impressive meal without a lot of active cooking! perfect served with a side of toast.

Adapted from the Kitchn.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 small or one medium eggplants halved lengthwise
  • ½ onion diced
  • 2 tbls olive oil plus more for bread
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbls parsley chopped
  • 1 tbls basil chopped
  • 1 tsp capers chopped
  • 10 kalamata olives chopped.
  • ¼ tsp salt plus more to taste
  • ground pepper
  • crusty bread like a baguette

Instructions

For the Eggplant and Tomatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil the bottom of a 8x8 pan (or any pan that will fit your eggplants) with 1 tbls of olive oil. Place eggplant halves in the pan, cut size up. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt.

  2. Dice the onion, quarter the tomatoes, and roughly chop the capers and olives. My eggplants were a bit thin so I wanted to be sure the filling was chopped finely enough that it would not fall off the eggplants. If your eggplants are larger, feel free to leave the onions and tomatoes larger too.

  3. In a small skillet, heat 1 tbls olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add the tomatoes, capers, olives, basil, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. Scoop the tomato onion mixture on top of the eggplant. Be liberal with the topping, this is the best part! My eggplants were a little small so I had some filling leftover. It was great as bruschetta topping the next day!

  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Baste the eggplant with the liquid from the pan, then return the foil, and bake for 15 more minutes. I had a hard time capturing the liquid to baste with a spoon. I am sure a baster would be more successful. However, if you are using a spoon like me, don’t sweat it. The tomatoes on top should be basting the eggplant on their own

  6. Baste a second time and bake, uncovered, an additional 10 to 20 minutes until eggplants are soft and tender. Mine only took 10 minutes but larger eggplants will take longer.

For the Toast

  1. While the eggplant is baking, prep the bread. Slice the bread and place on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you don’t have a pastry brush, I find that drizzling the oil and then spreading with the back of a spoon works well. After the second baste, put the bread in the oven with the eggplant. Bake for 8 minutes, flipping in the middle, until golden brown.

 

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