Eggplants are a summer bumper crop. If your garden is healthy and the weather has been cooperative, you can expect dozens of the purple fruits before the weather cools in the fall. Once when I was younger, we planted half a dozen of the plants in our vegetable garden and got a HUGE harvest from July to September. We had so many that we were giving eggplants away by the bagful! If you are interested in growing eggplant in your home garden, Bonnie Plants has great resources for gardeners.
What to do when you have too many eggplant
Since eggplant is mildly flavored, you have a lot of options when it comes time to cook them. Roasted eggplant is a refreshing step away from other recipes that are typically either fried or smothered in pasta sauce. In the oven, as it roasts, the eggplant sweetens and develops a more complex flavor profile. Chili oil adds heat to the recipe, and the Eastern Shore Honey will caramelize and create a slight crunch around the edges.
Make sure that you use smaller fresh-picked eggplants. Larger eggplants that have been off the stem a while are bitter and require a little extra work to remove that bitterness by covering them in kosher salt and allow them to sweat for a few hours prior to using them in any recipe. This step is not necessary if you are using eggplants that are fresh-picked.
The chili oil called for in this recipe is very simple to whip up. Chili oil holds up well for a few weeks when refrigerated so make a big batch to keep on hand. Adding whole garlic cloves or peppercorns to the oil while it cooks would be a great way to add more flavor to the finished product.
Adapting our Chili Roasted Eggplant Recipe
You know, a recipe is not truly perfect until you’ve added your own touch to it. That’s why we encourage you to play with your food. Call to your inner chef to come out and play and change up this recipe. Here are some ideas:
- Cut the spice by swapping out the chili oil for plain olive oil
- Add minced herbs as a garnish when you take the eggplant out of the oven
- Try this on the grill for a rich smoky flavor
If you decide to try this project, be sure to take a photo and share them with us using #waxingkararecipes on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!
Chili Roasted Eggplant with Honey
- 5 small heirloom eggplants
- 1/4 c Waxing Kara Honey
- 1/4 c chili oil
- 1 clove garlic smashed
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 c light olive oil
- 8 tsp. red pepper flakes or 4-5 small whole red chilies
- dash paprika
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and dry the eggplant. Remove the top stem and base of the eggplant. Stand the eggplant vertically and cut into thick slices.
In a medium bowl, emulsify garlic, honey and chili oil.
Place eggplant onto a baking sheet, season with a dash of salt and pepper and cover both sides with marinade.
Roast for about 15 minutes, or until soft and golden.
Serve with goat cheese and toasted crusty bread.
In a small saucepan, heat oil and add 4 tsp. red pepper flakes. Heat for 4-5 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Use a sieve to strain out cooked pepper flakes from oil.
Pour infused oil over the remaining 4 tsp. red pepper flakes into a sterilized glass jar in your refrigerator for up to three weeks.