Eggplant can be tough to get right. Not only does it tend to be bitter, but it can soak up oil like a sponge, making it greasy. With this recipe, however, you'll avoid all of those problems.
Scoring eggplant and roasting it whole brings out its natural sweetness. Once it's cooked, the eggplant is brushed with a spicy garlic oil that's a snap to make. Best of all, you can save the leftover oil and use it on pasta, pizza or even for a kicked-up version of garlic bread.
Vegetarian Spicy Garlic Eggplant
4 small eggplant, halved lengthwise and scored in a crosshatch pattern about 1/4 inch deep into the cut side of the flesh
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Szechuan peppercorn
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Brush the eggplant with the 2 teaspoons of oil on all sides and place, cut-side down, on a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, flip and continue cooking until golden brown and very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a saucepan until it just begins to bubble.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the chili flakes, garlic, Szechuan peppercorn and minced scallions. Swirl to incorporate all the ingredients, and set aside to infuse.
When ready to serve, remove the peppercorn from the oil and use a pastry brush to brush each of the eggplant with the oil. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and parsley and serve.