Roasted Eggplant with Lemon Garlic Sauce
- Preheat oven to 425º F.
- Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise and remove the stems.
- Score each side of eggplant in a crisscross pattern.
- Place on a parchment or foil-lined (for ease of clean-up) baking sheet, cut side up.
- Sprinkle each half generously with salt and set aside to rest for 30 minutes. The eggplant will begin to sweat.
- Optional: After 30 minutes, blot the eggplant with a towel to soak up any bitterness in the moisture pulled out of the eggplant. Then, sprinkle again with salt.
- Brush the cut sides with 1 tablespoon of the oil per half.
- Place a shallow pan of water at the bottom of the oven to prevent the eggplant from drying out.
- Roast eggplant for about 45 minutes, until the flesh is golden brown.
- While the eggplants are roasting, combine the lemon juice, cumin, roasted garlic and red chili pepper flakes in a bowl.
- When finished roasting, transfer the roasted halves to a serving dish, and spoon the lemon garlic sauce over the flesh.
- Garnish with chopped Italian parsley and lemon zest, if using.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Any of the globe-shaped varieties or Italian eggplant will work. Look for younger, smaller eggplants with smooth and tight skins without scars or bruises. Older, larger or softer eggplants may become bitter.
Eggplants are not as hardy as they may appear. The ideal storage temperature is 50 degrees with humidity. So if refrigerating eggplant, store them in the crisper, wrapped in paper towels and prepare as soon as possible. However, you can draw out some of the excess water and bitterness of overripe eggplant by salting for a longer duration and squeezing out the excess water before cooking.