Pan (tin foil, optional)
1 or 2 standard grocery eggplants, as desired
olive oil - up to 1/4 cup
freshly ground black pepper
basil (fresh or dried)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash the eggplant, dry, then cut off the stem end, cut it in half (horizontal to that stem), then quarter each half.
3. Douse your pan generously with olive oil. Then, taking each quartered eggplant piece, roll in the oil on each side, adding more oil to the pan, as needed for the additional pieces, arranging them skin-side down and about in your baking utensil.
4. Sprinkle with your seasoning, as desired (go easy on the salt), and bake for 50 minutes (give or take a bit, depending on your oven).
Et voilà ! Serve as is, with a fork and serrated knife, by itself or any number of other dishes, from rice or potatoes, pasta, or various meats, including sausages. These also keep nicely for the next day in the refrigerator to serve chilled with a salad, or to pack off with a lunch.
If you've been faint hearted at the prospect of working with the tender aubergine, this basic recipe will get you through, with an outcome that is absolutely delicious. I've found that the key, here, is oven timing; mine just perfect at 50 minutes. If you overcook, the skin will become tough and brittle. And you do want to eat the skin, which is delicious, and also loaded with fiber, as well as other nutrients. Eggplant is a good meat substitute, as well, since it is high in protein.
If you can wait 50 minutes before eating, the recipe is indeed "fast food" because it is so easy and so quick to prepare. There is no substitute for oven time with flavor, and with the microwave, here. You have to roast this lovely vegetable in the traditional fashion. (You can reheat, though, the next day; still, I'd prefer it chilled and untouched by any microwave approach.)
Many eggplant varieties, so happy explorations (see yellow variety, for example, in the photo below)! This recipe is with the standard sized purple eggplants found in many U.S. groceries. (Of course, the smaller and longer Japanese eggplant, also found here, would have a different cooking time.)
More eggplant journeys here with my eggplant panini (and where I *did* use a microwave). You can also recycle the roasted aubergine, the next day, and in that sandwich, rather than using the microwave version, which works in that case, as a time-saving preparation device.
*Photo credits/top, via wikipedia, photographer: Earth100, "Eggplant, also know as the aubergine, is a member of the plant family Solanaceae, shown here flowering in full bloom as photographed by Earth100." Second, via wikipedia, photographer:Phoebe, "Display of heirloom varieties of eggplants, taken at the Baker Creek Second Annual National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California, USA." Third, also via wiki, photographer:Iaminfo, Brinjal or Solanum melongena, yellow eggplants or "Brinjal" from India: "The green fruits turn yellow when ripe."