Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baked Eggplant

Though the calendar said it was spring a while ago, the weather patterns took a little longer to catch up. Still, I'm clinging to a few last remnants of the colder weather and eggplant is definitely one of them. For some reason, this year I'm not quite ready for the light, airy, fresh bounty of spring produce. I want to hold on to stews and heartiness for just a little while longer.

Maybe it's because it's chilly in the mornings. Maybe it's because I'm stubborn and resist change. Any way you look at it, I couldn't be happier.

I went for a run after work. It's not quite 60 yet, which means that for running, it's hovering between light, long-sleeve top weather and heavier short-sleeve top weather. I'm choosing short sleeves because running is the ONLY time in my day-to-day existence that I'd rather be a little chilly.

That's really just a long-winded way of saying, "I went for a run and I was cold, so then I wanted something hearty and delicious for dinner."

Baked Eggplant
Serves 4
2 medium eggplant
2 T olive oil
1 (15oz) can tomatoes
2 oz feta
2 T oregano, divided
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t pepper flakes
2 T pine nuts (optional)
1/4 c parsley

  1. Heat the oven to 375.
    Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise and cut crisscrosses into each face. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Put the eggplant into the pan, cut-side down, for 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
  2. To the same pan, add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, 1 T oregano, and pepper flakes to the pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes; remove from heat.
  3. Put the eggplant into a 9x13 ovenproof pan and top with tomatoes, feta, and the remaining oregano. Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
  4. While the eggplant is baking, put a clean, dry pan on medium-low heat and add the pine nuts. Toast them for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Be sure to watch them - pine nuts burn easily (and usually in those 4 seconds you turn away).
  5. Remove the eggplant from the oven and top with toasted pine nuts and parsley.

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