Eggplant Confit

by Robert Booz

The summer of 2011 saw a glut of eggplant. I was looking for something to do with all these finger-sized Japanese heirlooms we were getting in our C.S.A. They were so cute with their bright purple striations and diminutive size, but we were getting them 30 or more at a time, and they were clearly not a reasonable choice for something like eggplant parmesan. So I tried poaching them whole. The result is rich and delicious. They reheat well when fried in a pan, can be split open and spread on toast or a sandwich, and used to make eggplant vinaigrette for salads when mixed with some mayo and vinegar. Also be sure to try them mixed into yogurt. Reserve the used olive oil for drizzling on whatever you would drizzle olive oil on.

Ingredients

  • 10-15 small eggplants
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 5-10 sprigs of marjoram, thyme, or oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • Olive oil to suit
Eggplant Confit

Sybil Teles

Serve Eggplant Confit with warm pita or black pepper rice crackers.

Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Pierce the skin of the eggplants with the tip of a small knife or a cake tester, about 10 times. Arrange in a single layer in a small casserole dish with the herbs, garlic, cumin, and salt spread evenly among the eggplants. Pour in the olive oil just to cover the eggplants. Cover the dish and place in a 200°F oven for 3 to 4 hours or until the eggplants are meltingly tender. Alternatively, you could do this in a crock-pot on low.

Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.