This roasted eggplant (aka aubergine) has a wonderful rich deep taste and a chewy, succulent texture.
Keep a tub or baggie in the fridge during the summer, and add a handful to the side of a salad plate with a light sprinkle of grated parmesan on it — delicious.
This is a very low-fat recipe. Often eggplant recipes call for the eggplant first to be “brushed lightly with a bit of olive.” After which, if a cook is honest with her / himself, and looks at the olive oil bottle, s/he admits that the eggplant has essentially acted like a sponge and soaked up one-third to one-half of the bottle. Olive oil might be a healthy fat, of which you need two teaspoons a day, but a fat it still is nonetheless. This recipe uses extremely little fat yet still tastes rich and juicy.
So tuck away any bad memories of eggplant and consider trying this. If you still hate eggplant after this recipe, fine — everyone’s allowed a few things (mine is cucumber, believe it or not.) But this is eggplant as good as it gets. And it’s really healthy, only 2 Weight Watchers PointsPlus® per half cup / 75 g serving.
This recipe may even win over a few of the many eggplant haters.
In my experience, most people who hate eggplant are English-speakers who have been fed it by other English speakers who didn’t quite know how to cook it. When it’s only partly cooked, it has a very off-putting taste that I guess I’d describe as “raw green”, and an unappealing, spongey texture.
When it’s properly and fully-cooked the way it’s supposed to be, it’s a whole different vegetable. It’s meaty and satisfying.
In a paddle-type air fryer, these will come out denser, moister, meatier. In a basket-type air fryer, these will come out lighter, airier. But both ways are delectable.
Here we go:
Roasted Eggplant (Actifry)
Put everything from the duck fat down to the bay leaves into the Actifry™ pan. Cook for 2 minutes to let the ingredients melt and mix.
Cook for 25 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the juice of 1/2 lemon with 1 teaspoon olive oil; dump the cooked eggplant in, and toss.
Optional: serve sprinkled with some grated parmesan, fresh chopped basil, etc.
Basket-type hot air fryer directions (such as a Philips AirFryer™):
Use 500 g (2 medium egglant) instead of 750 g / 3 eggplants. Zap the 1 tbsp duck fat for 30 seconds in microwave in a microwave-safe jug just to melt OR just use 1 tablespoon of oil. Put into larger bowl along with maggi, onion powder, garlic powder, za'atar, and sumac (omit bay leaves.) Stir. Add eggplant cubes. Toss. You may feel the need for a second tablespoon of duck fat, or a tablespoon of oil: if so , fine, but try it the first time out with just 1 tablespoon.
Place into basket; roast for 15 minutes at 160 C / 320 F from cold. Take out, toss. Raise temperature to 180 C / 350 F; roast another 5 minutes, toss, then roast for a final 5 minutes. Taste. If desired, roast for another 3 or 4 minutes until it reaches the texture you like.
Then proceed with rest of recipe above (toss with lemon juice and olive oil, etc.)
Yield for basket-type fryers: per 500 g raw eggplant you end up with 250 g of roasted eggplant.
Easily doubled if you have a family-sized Actifry.
Instead of the za’atar, you can use 1 teaspoon each of: oregano, marjoram and thyme.
The recipe uses garlic and onion powder rather than fresh minced or chopped (a) because it’s easier but also (b) because in a recipe like this, the finely chopped pieces can just burn away to hard bits.
No, the Actifry paddle does not make the eggplant mooshy.
No, there is no need to “salt” the eggplant cubes first to extract bitterness: bitterness was bred long ago out of the varieties now grown.
Duck fat is used for the paddle-type fryer because for some reason it resists getting completely absorbed into the eggplant. You could also use goose fat. If you use oil instead of duck fat as the frying fat in a paddle-type fryer such as an Actifry, you will need 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil instead of the 1 tablespoon. In a basket-type fryer such as a Philips AirFryer™, the duck fat advantage is less obvious and you can just use oil.
Consider leaving off the herbs / parmesan at times, and just freezing small bags of these roasted eggplant chunks to toss (thawed) into risottos, pastas sauces, stews, etc.
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by hotairfrying.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
* Actifry™ is a registered trademark of SEB, France.
* AirFryer™ is a registered trademark of Philips, Netherlands.