One of the things that I love most about summer is fresh produce. On the way back from our camping trip last weekend, we stopped at a rural farm stand and loaded up on fresh vegetables and fruit. I really wish I had bought more of the sweet, white corn they had because it was out of this world good. I also bought a few tomatoes and eggplants of varying colors. I made a fresh marinara sauce for the eggplant which I roasted in the oven. It was a perfect way to combine the fresh flavors of summer into into one dish.
This recipe differs from Eggplant Parmesan because there is no breading or frying. The eggplant is thickly sliced and baked until some of the water is cooked off. I find that the true flavor of the eggplant comes through more because the breading and frying process adds so many flavors. Now, those are good flavors so I am not criticizing the traditional method, but am offering a different approach.
I recently got two bottles of aged Chianti Classico from my local wine shop, Tower Wines. It is rare to get a good deal on tasty aged wines so I was really excited about these bottles. We tried the second one last night, and for $25, it was wonderful. Earthy and rich with mellow and smooth tannins, this wine really complemented the eggplant dish nicely.
This wine would also pair very nicely with a hard cheese like aged provolone, or a hearty meat dish such as braised short ribs. Actually, this wine was so lovely, it would make a nice piece of toasted cardboard taste good.
Roasted Eggplant with Fresh Marinara
3 small eggplants
3 large tomatoes, ripe, cut into large dice
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 t Italian seasoning
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Thickly slice the eggplant and roast with cooking spray at 350 for 20 minutes. Flip halfway through
2. Heat 1 T olive oil in a saucepan with the crushed garlic clove. Add tomato and spices. simmer for 5 minutes
3. Add wine and continue to simmer. Once the sauce is cooked down, remove from heat. I cooked mine about 30 minutes total. Add salt if desired
4. Add 1 large spoonful of sauce to casserole pan and then layer eggplant, sauce and cheese. My dish had two layers and I was very generous with sauce because I like it that way
5. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown