Marinated eggplants are enjoyed throughout Italy, all region has its own classic version and they are all very tasty.
This is one of my favorite eggplant recipe, very easy and tasty and it keeps in the fridge for a long time an can be eaten in several ways. I like it on top of sourdough bread, a simple “pizza Bianca” – white pizza – that is rarely missing in classic bakeries especially in some regions like Lazio. Topped with fresh mozzarella it’s the perfect lunch on-the-go or a nice appetizer when you have guests.
It’s also perfect for making a flavorful cold pasta dish: cook, drain and cool down a pasta like penne or rigatoni, then add the marinated eggplants some cheese, or fresh tomatoes, basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Marinated eggplants healthy tips
In some regions eggplants are fist deep fried then marinated, they’ll certainly taste amazing however the recipe will be a bit more greasy and heavy. I found that with a small little trick you get basically the same result, without all the fuzz of frying and the washing up that comes with that, not to mention an end result far more lighter.
What’s the trick? You can bake the eggplants on a non stick tray, lightly greased with some extra virgin olive oil, it’s as simple as that.
If you bake the eggplant you will avoid the extra fat from the frying, and also the taste will be more intense and natural. Higher temperatures can also destroy some of the nutrients, whereas baking will keep them intact.
Using high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, fresh herbs and the freshest veggie you can find (possibly from a local farmer) will increase the nutrients in the recipe. And the balsamic vinegar will give it a kick to boost your metabolism.
Want to still fry the eggplants? keep this in mind…
Unless you use an electric fryer, it is very difficult to keep the oil temperature stable and, when using vegetable oils, you may end up with a lot of free radicals in the food, that come from the oxidation occurring when they rich a certain temperature.
The best oils to frying are cold pressed ones like extra virgin olive, avocado oil, coconut oil and even lard. The important thing when frying is using an oil that can withstand high temperature, and using the right temperature when cooking. Lower temperatures will yield a greasy soggy food, whereas higher ones may burn the food on the outside and keep it raw on the inside.
MARINATE EGGPLANTS RECIPE
- 3/4 eggplants
- a bunch of basil (fresh or dried)
- a bunch of mint (fresh or dried)
- salt to taste
- 50ml of extra virgin olive oil
- 50ml of balsamic vinegar
- pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic or 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of maple syrup or sugar
Preheat the over at 375°F or 180°C. Wash and cut the eggplants into slices, sprinkle with salt.
Grease a non stick tray with some extra virgin olive oil using a brush, lay the eggplant slices and sprinkle with some more oil.
Cook the eggplants for 15/20 minutes. In the mean time prepare the marinade. Finely chop the fresh basil and mint.
In a bowl or in the final container (glass is better, plastic may react with the vinegar) mix the remaining oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, garlic and cayenne pepper.
When the eggplants are cooked, put them into the marinade and mix thoroughly. Let cool completely and then put in the fridge.
The eggplants are best eaten at least a few hours after they’re done, but even better the next day. The more they will sit in the marinade the better the taste. All the ingredients will mingle and you’ll end up with an amazing sweet, sour and tangy taste.
With the same recipe you can marinate zucchini slices, the marinade will give them a round taste and it’s a good way to eat more vegetables, especially those that are not that tasty on their own, like zucchini. If you are growing your own zucchini you’ll certainly have some bigger ones that are not very flavorful, using those for this recipe will give a very tasty side dish.