Any way, first I did a web search and read several different vegan eggplant recipes from Chinese style meals to lasagna pasta types. I also read about salting, sweating and blotting the eggplant dry before cooking it. Some folks say it's not necessary, but most of the recipes strongly recommended that you make time for this step to take the bittnerness out of the eggplant. I also did it to see if the eggplant really would sweat after I salted it good with Kosher salt. It did!
By now after reading that eggplant sweating excited me, you've likely figured out this is the first time I have ever cooked eggplant. I'll have to say my often resorted to create-it-as-you-go cooking style was a success with this meal (thank goodness as I'd hate to be guilty of eggplant brutality and wastefulness). Fortunately, this meal ended up being a delicious one that we can't wait to fix again soon. A listing of what I did is below. It was enough for each of us to have a very generous serving. I kind of hate to call it a recipe though when I don't even give you exact amounts for most of the ingredients. As I've written before, however, just jump in there and and create your own recipes - it's fun, adventurous and a way to tap into your creative side. Plus, most of the time I bet your creations will turn out darn good.
- 1Either cut eggplant into 1/4" thick slices or small cubes (mine ended up more triangular but it does not matter)
- 2Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes if time allows ( think I let mine sit for 20). At some point you'll actually see the eggplant sweating (I loved this part).
- 3Preheat oven (I used our toaster oven) to 425 degrees. Rinse the now sweaty eggplant slices or cubes (or triangles if they look like mine), drain good and then use paper towels below and on top of the eggplant to press as much water out as you can.
- 4Place and spread out the blotted dry eggplant on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper.
- 5Spritz or drizzle your chopped up or sliced and blotted dry eggplant with about 2 - 4 tablespoons of olive oil then add a generous amount of Panko Bread Crumbs. I then added the following seasonings (probably about 1-2 tsps of each perhaps): Garlic powder, onion powder, oregano (just a little) and smoked paprika. I did not add any salt since I'd already put the eggplant through the sweathouse procedure mentioned above which included a super generous amount of salt.
- 6After it's cooked for about 15 minutes, stir it all around good and roast for a total of about 25 to 30 minutes. I kept a close eye on it during the last 10 minutes to make sure I didn't burn it. On the other hand, if you like crispy as we do, you want to roast it as long as you can without burning it.
- 7Serve over brown rice with steamed broccoli mixed in and enjoy! I loved adding soy sauce to mine (or tamari if you want gluten free), but my husband ate it without any added sauce and gave it 3 thumbs up. And, finally, my glass of red wine was a good fit with it too.