You may have heard rumor that The Goddess has a torrid affair going. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it, The Spicy Honey knows all about my relationship with eggplant. I love it (and him!) in any and every form, but roasted (not him!) is I think perhaps, my favorite. Usually I either slice or cube eggplant, when I’m roasting it. This time I cut the eggplants into wedges…lengthwise cuts, then I cut those in half, because they would fit my serving dish better. But, wouldn’t they just be so dramatic left in long wedges and put on a square or rectangular platter? Oh, the possibilities.
I chose eggplants that were relatively even. Not the ones with narrow shoulder and big bottoms! They have nice green tops and are rather heavy for their size.
You may have heard talk about male and female eggplants. It’s bogus. These are eggplants, not babies! This sex-talk seems to tie into how bitter and seedy the eggplant is. Apparently, you need to look at the blossom end (on the bottom). The thought is that those that have a shallow and round indentation, as opposed to a dash-shaped indentation, tend to have fewer seeds, and are therefore less bitter. Personally, I think that seedier eggplant, are just perhaps a bit past their prime and should have been picked earlier. I have found that smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter. But, I think freshness is the key.
Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, and cut each half into three or four equal wedges. Now, push the long wedges together in an even pile and slice them in half crosswise. You’ll get about 12 to 16 pieces from each eggplant. If you want to cut the eggplant into quarters for larger, fatter wedges, by all means, do so. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time.
Of course, I took no pictures of this step, so I’ll have to make this again…oh, no! But, as I’m fond of saying, “this isn’t rocket science”. A large skillet works great for this, about 14-inches in diameter. Put all the wedges into the skillet, drizzle them with olive oil, and a good sprinkle of salt. Toss the wedges together to distribute the oil and the salt; I use my hands. Slide the pan into the oven; you don’t have to wait until the oven temp hits 425°F. This isn’t baking, right? Roast for about 15-20 minutes, tossing the eggplant a couple of times to redistribute the pieces, so they cook more evenly. Using your hands for this tossing is not recommended!! I use a tongs.
While the eggplant does its thing, make the magic sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the sweet soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and garlic. You don’t really think The Goddess will omit garlic from eggplant, do you? Crazy thoughts like that will get you into trouble. Bring the mixture to the boil and let it go for about 2 minutes, swirling the pan a couple of times; it will thicken slightly. Remove the pan from the heat; let it set until the eggplant is roasted.
When the eggplant is soft, remove the wedges to a serving dish. Snuggle them all together in the dish. Pour the sauce over the hot wedges and walk away. This absolutely, hand-down tastes much better at room temperature. I let the dish sit for several hours before serving. After dinner, I left the dish out overnight. No, I didn’t plan on doing that, but stuff happens. It turned out to be a great treat for breakfast. Who knew?
I did sprinkle some cilantro over the cooled mixture just before serving. I’m a fan of cilantro, but if you’re not, or you simply want different herbs, fresh basil, oregano, parsley, mint or chives would be good. Choose your poison…so to speak. A big pinch of red pepper flakes added to the sauce is a thing of beauty. It’s all about options!
Roasted Eggplant Wedges with Soy-Balsamic Glaze
- 2 good-sized eggplants, stem and blossomed ends sliced off
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sweet soy sauce (see NOTE)
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- 1-4 cloves garlic, put through a press or finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Fresh cilantro leaves, torn into large-ish bits
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half into three or four equal wedges. Slice the wedges in half crosswise. So you’ll get about 12 to 16 pieces from each eggplant. If you want to cut the eggplant into quarters for larger wedges, by all means, do so. You’ll just need to adjust your cooking time.
Place all the wedges into a large, oven-proof pan or skillet. Sprinkle with salt; drizzle the olive oil over the wedges. Toss the wedges together to distribute the oil and the salt; I use my hands for this. Slide the pan in the oven; roast for about 15-20 minutes, tossing the wedges a couple of times to redistribute the pieces, so they will cook more evenly.
For the sauce—in a small saucepan, combine the sweet soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, if using, and garlic. Bring to the boil; boil for about 1-2 minutes, swirling the pan a couple of times until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove the pan from the heat and let it set until the eggplant is roasted.
When the eggplant wedges are soft, remove them to a serving dish, pushing them closely together. Pour the sauce over the hot wedges. Let cool to room temperature. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle cilantro (or other fresh herbs) over the eggplant. Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with some nice bread for mopping!
NOTE: You can purchase Sweet Soy Sauce (Lee Kum Kee® brand is our favorite) in most Asian groceries or a well-stocked supermarket. If you can’t find it, use regular soy sauce (or tamari, if you need gluten-free), increase the maple syrup to 2 1/2 teaspoons. Remember to taste the sauce. If it’s too sweet, add a little more vinegar and vice-versa. I did sprinkle some cilantro over the cooled mixture just before serving. If you wish, change the herbs to fresh basil, oregano, parsley or chives. Any of those will be good. You may add 1 teaspoon shredded orange zest to the sauce, just to keep things interesting!
Roasted Eggplant Wedges with Soy-Balsamic Glaze Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
This is the “Gang of Four” of our favorite condiments. You can purchase Sweet Soy Sauce (Lee Kum Kee® brand is our favorite) in most Asian groceries or a well-stocked supermarket.
The sauce, for the eggplant, is a nice little back-pocket sort of sauce to have. It’s good over grilled or roasted asparagus, zucchini and I really like is on winter squash, as well as salmon and chicken.