Notice how much we divided up this whole, roasted eggplant into 8 tiny portions before listing a serving size. That’s because an eggplant really is a giant potato. . .
550 grams Eggplant, whole, unpeeled (1 regular sized eggplant, roughly 1 1/2 pounds)
- Oven at moderate temperature
- Set the oven on a moderate to high baking temperature ( 350 – 400 F)
- Poke the whole, unpeeled eggplant several times, just like you’d poke a potato, except more times, because the eggplant’s larger
- Let the eggplant cook until a good amount of the liquid has dripped out, and the eggplant is as withered as a dried apple . . . only soggy and mushy . . . not dried out.
- Remove and let it cool. When you’re ready to use it, peel off (this means pull it off, basically), the shiny blue-black skin, and if you’re a purist or don’t think they work well for you, also remove a fair amount of the seeds.
YIELDS 8 Servings
Fat – 7%; Protein – 18%; Carbs – 91%
Grams per serving: Fat – .2 grams; Protein – 1 gram; Carbs – 4 grams
Calories per serving: 18
Notice how much we divided up this whole, roasted eggplant into 8 tiny portions before listing a serving size. That’s because an eggplant really is a giant potato. It’s even related to potatoes, for eggplants are in the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, basil and potatoes. Even more important, just as in a potato, whatever calories an eggplant has, they’re mostly focused on the carb side of things. Well sure, they also have a good amount of fiber. But they can really move up the total carb count fast. So let’s say you were a total eggplant lover, and instead of roasting this eggplant, you just fried a whole one up with Olive Oil and salt. Yum! You might be thinking you’re eating a low-glycemic, high-fiber vegetable in a delicious way (That’s what I thought!). Sure, that’s sort of true. But you’d also be eating 32 grams of carbohydrate in that one single dish. Okay for a lot of people, 32 grams of carbs in a meal isn’t a big deal, but if you’re a Type I or Type II diabetic, or you’ve got high blood pressure, or you want to lose weight by staying in fat-burning mode, or you want to reduce arthritic pain by lowering the inflammation caused by higher hormone levels of insulin and leptin . . . if you have goals like these, it means you might want to keep carbs under 30 grams a day, or perhaps 50 grams a day. If that’s your goal, then eggplant can really sneak those carbs up higher than you intended. If you’re resolving to keep your carbs low, but you want to have this kind of meal now and then, perhaps think of reducing your portion size to 1/3rd of the eggplant. Or if you really LOVE it, think of eating the whole, fried eggplant INTENTIONALLY, singing mantras to yourself about how you are loving the eggplant, you are eating the eggplant, and you are making all of your carbohydrates today out of eggplant. Eggplant mantra, eggplant mantra, mahnny, mahnny, ommmmmmm . . . .
Speaking of carbs, there’s another thing that’s hard to figure out when it comes to roasting eggplant. You see, if you grill an eggplant in lots of olive oil, you can be pretty sure that all the carbohydrate juices are staying in the pan. And in fact, they’re glycosylating in the pan (you can translate glycoylating to mean they’re caramelizing–they’re gumming up) with any eggplant proteins that the heat is currently denaturing (that means heat is stretching out the proteins and breaking them down into sugars and ammonia)–which accounts for the browning effect, and also produces some acrylimides, which are a toxin. Acrylimdes produced by browning and crisping are tasty but poison, from trace to significant degrees. Much as I like the taste of browning, it gets a bit less attractive when I remember what it’s doing chemically.
Anyway, unlike grilling an eggplant, roasting an eggplant doesn’t trap all the juices in the pan. That is, it’s neat to let a roasting eggplant drip out some of its liquid, because some people find that whatever’s in that liquid is a bit irritating to their digestive tracts. But I don’t know whether draining out that liquid reduces the carbs or actually concentrates them and makes them more readily available. Anyone with an answer, we’d like to hear it. In the meantime, now you know why we look at eggplant as a nice additional flavor in recipes that include higher fat ingredients, rather than a good, solid side dish on its own, the way that kale can be.
One recipe that eggplant is pretty tasty as part of is Roasted Walnut Pesto.
Oh, wait! Let’s give a cooking and storing tip. A whole, roasted eggplant is easy to freeze. You just let it cool then put it in a plastic bag. You can put a bunch of them in a plastic bag together. Because you’ve roasted them, they won’t take up as much space in your freezer as they would have if you tried to freeze them raw. Freezing roasted eggplant saves space and preserves a beautiful part of the summer. So if you have a garden, or a friend who has a garden, or you find eggplant on sale in the summer, then you can roast and freeze and preserve that yummy taste for other times of the year. Only, keep in mind that and eggplant really is a great big, carby potato. So we recommend it it moderation.