Not as fancy as it looks (Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Chile Croutons)

Eggplant was not something that I grew up on.  Well I guess I didn't grow up with a ton of the veggies that show up on this blog from time to time as we were pretty much an artichoke, broccoli or corn family.  I have tried to make eggplant fetch happen and have had a few hits and a few misses.  I got some tiny eggplants in my Covey Rise share and I was determined to make another hit.  I turned to my trusty favorite cookbook of the moment, Nothing Fancy, and found just the ticket.

This looks super fancy, but true to the cookbook's name, it is nothing fancy.  It really was super easy.  I changed the original recipe up a little to remove a hard to find ingredient (preserved lemon) and added a little bit easier to find ingredient (harissa).  You can sub whatever you like in the sauce, it is super adaptable.  Make this and impress yourself!  The tangy sauce, creamy eggplant and crunchy croutons are such a great combo!  Full recipe to follow the short montage.

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Chile Croutons
What a pretty plate!
Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Chile Croutons
The simple cast.  The harissa was a late addition.

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Chile Croutons
Look at that eggplant, it earned its stripes!
Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Chile Croutons
Pin it for when there is eggplant is in your possession and you want nothing fancy!

Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Chile Croutons (Adapted from Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman)

3 medium or 2 large  eggplants (about 2½ pounds), halved lengthwise (I had tiny ones so I used 5)
¾ cup olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresh red chile, very thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups breadcrumbs (I made my own from old bread but panko will work)
1 cup  Greek yogurt, or sour cream (I used sour cream)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as desired
1 cup fresh mint or cilantro leaves, tender leaves and stems

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Using a small paring knife, make a few ½-inch slits into the cut side of each eggplant. 
  • Place the eggplant cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with ½ cup olive oil, distributing as evenly as possible. Season with salt and pepper and turn over so that the eggplant is cut side down.
  • Place in the oven and roast, without moving or disturbing, until eggplant is completely tender, cooked through, and golden brown on the bottom, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the garlic and chile are frizzled and fragrant (but not yet browned), 1 or 2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are evenly toasted and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Combine the sour cream and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and harissa in a small bowl; season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if you like. Smear it onto the bottom of a large serving platter or single plates if serving individually.
  • Once the eggplant is good and ready to go, place the eggplant, cut side up, on top of the seasoned  sour cream. Scatter with the crispy croutons and herbs before serving.

Happy Cooking!


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