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Baked Italian baby eggplant is a favorite blog text recipe post so we decided to show you how to make it. Let me know if there are other recipe posts or other Italian dishes you want me to cook and maybe we’ll add them to our upcoming video episode list.
We’re in the worst drought ever here in California.
My produce guys tell me prices are already on the rise because of the drought. 60% of America’s produce comes from California so we’ll all be paying 15-20% more.
Even as prices rise, keep on buying local organic produce. The quality of the ingredients is vital. There are only 4 key ingredients in this dish so they all have to shine.
The only two days of heavy rain this whole winter had to be when I’m out food shopping over the weekend for the 3 episodes shot on Monday. I know we need the rain but that doesn’t mean I can’t complain.
I was a man on a mission. Off I went to the Ferry Building Saturday farmer’s market in the rain. No Italian baby eggplant. I hit at least six other markets and baby Italian eggplant were nowhere to be found. All I got was wet.
I panicked. I needed eggplant for Monday’s shoot. While scouring the city I caught a glimpse of dark eggplant on a sidewalk stand as the bus passed Grant Street in Chinatown. I made my way back to the produce stand and there I found not the Italian baby eggplant I desperately needed but Japanese eggplant instead.
I was about to pass them up when I said to myself “Hey, you got a show to shoot. Whaddaya gonna do? Buy these. Stupido! This happens to other people too, so it’s an improvisation lesson.”
After chasing all over the city, I had developed a “woolie” (a craving) for these baked eggplant. I had to make them.
So that’s why I’m using Japanese eggplant that are readily available in the market. If you can’t get the Italian baby eggplant, use the Japanese.
The taste and texture is as good as baking the small black-purple Italian ones. But if I find them in market, I go for the baby Italians every time.
Zesty crispy tomato and pecorino top sweet creamy soft eggplant inside the flavorful shriveled skin. The essence of eggplant in every single bite. Serve it by itself or as the centerpiece of an antipasti course. Just add some prosciutto & cheese to the platter and some olives too.
If you like eggplant watch me make my favorite dish eggplant parmigiano.
Keep on cooking. Buon appetito!
- 4 Italian baby eggplants
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 cup Italian canned San Marzano tomatoes, crushed well by hand
- ¼ cup pecorino, grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup water
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut off the stem of the Italian baby eggplant and cut each in half. (If you're using Japanese eggplant, cut off most of the narrow neck.)
- Lightly score the top of the eggplant on the diagonal in both directions to form diamonds.
- Put the eggplant in a single layer in a baking dish cut side up.
- Drizzle each half generously with EVOO.
- Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Evenly distribute the crushed tomato on top of each half.
- Sprinkle the oregano on top of the crushed tomato.
- Sprinkle the grated pecorino evenly on each half.
- Pour the water in the bottom of the baking dish.
- Add some olive oil and tomatoes to the water. (This will make a pan sauce to put over the eggplant before you serve them.)
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
- Bake until the eggplant are knife tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- Uncover the pan and bake until the pecorino is lightly browned and the eggplant start to collapse in on themselves, 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
- Serves 4-6