Eggplant is not something I cook with very often, but during a trip to visit my Dad and his lovely girlfriend Lois, it was up to me to come up with something with a large eggplant that was given to them by my Dad's cousin (who has a rather impressive garden). After some discussion and some frowny faces because neither my Dad nor Lois have enjoyed eggplant in the past, I did not want that lovely and lonely eggplant to go to waste. After some brainstorming, I came up with a delicious broiled and breaded version served with my favorite mushroom curry. This went over well with my family.
The process was easy. You simply line a broiler pan with foil, top with a metal rack and brush with oil. Preheat your broiler while preparing the eggplant. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. In a small bowl, beat together a large egg, 1 teaspoon or so of olive oil, 1 garlic clove, crushed sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste, dried herbs such as oregano, rosemary and basil, and a pinch of cayenne and maybe some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Now you just need to brush the eggplant with some more olive oil, dip into the egg mixture, and then transfer to a plate with some bread crumbs or cornmeal and coat both sides. Place the eggplant slices onto the prepared pan and broil, flipping the eggplant after 10 minutes and then continuing to bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown, making sure not to burn the eggplant.
Because I was rather pleased with that simple little side, I wanted to explore eggplant yet again when I got home. So I present you with a caponata — a classic Sicilian cooked salad with eggplant, tomatoes, olive and capers served at room temperature. Very much like a Mediterranean relish or salsa, it's especially suited for serving with toasted flat breads. I will note that this is also a perfect way to take advantage of homegrown tomatoes