Marinated Eggplant

marinated eggplant dishThis delicious Italian-style eggplant is marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon and a touch of balsamic, with garlic and oregano. It makes an excellent side-dish for Italian food.

Make the dish a day before serving and marinate overnight in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

eggplants3 medium or 4 small globe eggplants

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 leek

1/4 cup plus 2 Tb garlic infused olive oil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

12-oz jar Italian-style roasted red bell peppers

1 cloves garlic, minced fine

1 Tb balsamic vinegar

several grinds black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp dried oregano

2 slices Meyer lemon (from blossom end)

Finely grated peel of Meyer lemon

Juice of Meyer lemon

chopped eggplant with leeksCut the eggplants at different angles into 2 inches pieces. Each piece should have skin on it. Put them on a rack above a rimmed baking pan, such as a jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the eggplant. Let it sit for 30 minutes. You will see it sweat. This improves the texture of the eggplant and is supposed to make it less bitter.

While eggplant is sweating, heat the oven to 350º F. Cut the white part of the leek length-wise and then into 1 ” pieces. Soak in a salad-spinner, then rise thoroughly. Spin until dry. Grease a roasting pan with 2 TB garlic infused olive oil and add leeks.

After eggplant sweats for 30 minutes, briefly rinse the pieces in the basket of the salad spinner, then spin, and pat dry with a paper towel. Add to the leeks in the roasting pan. Pour in the rest of the garlic oil and toss so that all the eggplant is coated with oil. Bake for 25 minutes at 350º F. Turn off the oven and let the baking dish sit in the oven until it is cool, about an hour. The eggplant and leeks should be very tender. Transfer to a deep casserole dish. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Cut two thin slices of lemon from the blossom end (opposite the stem end), then cut each in half and set aside. Finely grate the peel of the rest of the lemon, then juice it. Add peel and juice to the eggplant.

Pour the jar of roasted peppers into the eggplant, then fish out the peppers and slice them in half cross-wise, then into strips length-wise and stir into eggplant. Place the lemon slices on top.

Let the eggplant sit at room temperature. Adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for about 24 hours, then let sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving.


Italian herb Eggplant with chicken and/or garbanzo beans

on pasta with grated parmesan

Italian herbs

Serves 4  time: about 40 minutes

Eggplant is the food of the gods, especially when roasted. I don’t add any oil to it.  Roast it whole for an hour in a  425′ oven, until soft. You can put in the same roasting pan while you are baking a whole chicken, and use it the next day or two. The time will vary with the size of the eggplant of course, but for this recipe I used a medium eggplant. My other favorite vegetable is artichokes. My family teases me that I put artichoke hearts in almost everything (ok not desserts). They add a subtle sweetness to the dish. I use the pale green zucchini which doesn’t have the bitterness of regular dark green zucchini. Small zucchini have a better taste.

For a vegetarian version, just omit the chicken. Vegans can omit the parmesan cheese as well.


ingredients italian chicken

1 medium eggplant

1 Tb olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 chicken breast (2 halves), chopped

1 sprig oregano, diced to make 1 Tb.

1 sprig rosemary, minced to make 1 tsp.

3 cloves garlic, minced, or 3 cubes frozen garlic*

1 cup fresh red bell pepper or frozen sliced bell peppers*

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped

10 mushrooms, chopped

15 oz. can garbanzo beans

1 tsp salt to taste

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tb red wine

1 tsp sugar

2 small pale green zucchini, chopped

1 bunch spinach, leaves only, chopped

14 oz. can artichoke hearts in water,* drained and sliced

3 sprig basil, diced to make 1 Tb

*(you can get these at Trader Joe’s)

Roast eggplant (prick it with a fork before putting in the roasting pan to prevent an explosion!) and let cool; then scoop out and chop.

Pick fresh herbs: 1 sprig each of oregano and rosemary, and 3 sprigs basil.

Sauté onion in 1 Tb olive oil for one minute, then add chicken breast.

Add garlic, chopped mushrooms and sliced bell peppers, eggplant, Roma tomatoes,  garbanzo beans, rosemary, oregano, and  salt. Add balsamic vinegar, wine and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add zucchini, and artichoke hearts . Cook for a few more minutes until zucchini and artichoke hearts are hot. Place spinach on top and cook covered a few minutes, until spinach is wilted. Mix in basil.

Serve over ½ lb  penne or spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Italian chicken and veggies cooking in pan