Roasted Eggplant, Peppers and Tomato

Eggplants are in season and that’s the only time I’m really interested in them.  It’s not out of principle–it’s more that I eat them so often during the summer, I’m basically tired of eating them by fall.

This dish is a great accompaniment to roast chicken on the grill, or any other grilled meat or fish.

The eggplants get peeled, but not completely–leave a little stripe of black here and there–it adds nice smokey flavor and crispness.

If you leave them unpeeled entirely, however, the peel chars and the whole dish becomes acrid and burnt-tasting.

The peppers are diced into large chunks, along with some onions.  I add a couple of split cloves of garlic as well.  All is tossed with oil, lots of salt, and some black pepper.

The tomatoes are added in a little later, lest they blacken and scorch.

Depending on your oven, this dish takes about an hour to roast,  but holds well at room temperature (or covered, in a warm oven).

Roasted Eggplant, Peppers and Tomato

serves 4

2 large eggplants, firm and without bruises, peeled (mostly) and diced into 1″ cubes

1 large onion, diced into 1″ pieces

2 red peppers, cut into 1″ cubes

2 plum or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into quarters, lengthwise

2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

1 handful of basil or mint

1/2 c olive oil

approx. 1 – 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In 2 large roasting pans, spread out all the vegetables except tomatoes. Do not overcrowd pans.  Sprinkle with oil, salt (liberally) and pepper.  Toss with hands to coat with oil and seasonings.

Roast, uncovered for approximately 1/2 hour.  Do not stir until the pieces begin to caramelize on the bottom–then stir them gently.  After the pieces begin to brown and wilt (approximately 1/2 hour) combine the contents of both pans into one.  Add chunks of tomato and  continue roasting until all is moist and lightly charred (about another half hour–longer if necessary).

Sprinkle with torn basil  or mint leaves and additional raw olive oil.

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