EGGPLANT. It is perfect. It is delicious. It is also something I tend to use just for spicy pastas of some type, eggplant parmesan, or stirfry. Clearly, however, eggplant can do a number of other things.
I have been wanting to make this stuff for weeks! weeks! and yet somehow it was always too hot to even consider turning the oven to 500F. Then this weekend it was suddenly cool enough to yank an extra blanket onto the bed.
Tahini glazed eggplant
per Food and Wine
salt and pepper
First, make sure it is not over 90F in your kitchen already, or be heat tolerant. Then set the oven to 500F. Oh my god! Move an oven rack to the lowest position.
Take some eggplant, peel it, and cut it into 2/3-inch thick slices. Cut the slices into quarters or whatever looks appropriate for finger food; if you have tiny eggplant, leave the slices round. Put them on a cookie sheet, salt and pepper, and put them on the lowest shelf of the oven. Leave them for about 10 minutes, or longer for thicker slices. If you start to smell anything at all during this period, GO CHECK ON THEM. My thinnest slice turned itself into a dark brown eggplant crisp very easily. When the bottoms are golden brown, take them out of the oven and move the rack up to broiler level.
While this is all happening, get some tahini, olive oil, minced garlic, honey, and salt and pepper into a bowl. Whisk it.
I used two cloves of garlic, a couple spoonfuls of tahini, a couple spoonfuls of the excess sesame oil from the top of the tahini, the barest drizzle of olive oil, and a couple spoonfuls of honey. The oil proportions were really because we were pretty much out of olive oil, and a drizzle was all I could get out of the bottle. Sesame oil definitely worked instead. I might even leave it that way in future. I was also supposed to add lemon juice, but I forgot. This was easily remedied by later squeezing a huge wedge of lemon over the entire serving dish.
Flip all the eggplant slices over. Spread the sauce over the eggplant and put the pan back in the oven, this time at the broiler level. They only need a minute or two for the sauce to heat and brown, and for everything to be perfect. Check on them!
When they are browned, get them out of the oven, off the pan, and covered with lemon juice as soon as humanly possible. Then put them in your mouth and eat them.
This would be really, really easy to prep for a party the night/a few hours before. You could clearly cut up and brown the bottoms of all the eggplant. You could also make the dressing. You could make three eggplants' worth of stuff! On the day of, you'd just have to spoon sauce and stick everything under the broiler for a couple minutes. Then you'd suddenly have three gigantic serving plates' worth of fantastic vegan food.
Another thing that could happen: instead of making tahini sauce, smash up some roasted red pepper and garlic with olive oil and parsley/basil and use that as the sauce. Another thing: pesto.
So one of my eggplant impulses has had results. Now I just need to get my hands on some miso. Then we can move on to the land of baigan bhartha.