I'm ugly, but you will still love me.
This is what my new eggplant dish would say if it could talk.
I don't have much experience with eggplants, except to turn up my nose at them. The only reason I cooked something with eggplant is because of my dad.
This year my dad is growing eggplants in his garden in Cleveland. They're so pretty, their shiny, aubergine flesh peeking out between the full leaves. A world in a microcosm, the plants reveal all stages of life, from incipient flower buds, to blooms stretching their delicate petals to the sun, to voluptuous, full-bodied beauties bowing down to the earth.
From the moment I saw them in their natural state, I fell in love.
With one of my dad's gorgeous eggplants, I sliced it in thin rounds and pan roasted them in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Such a simple preparation but everyone loved them.
When I got back to my home after visiting Cleveland, I was still thinking about eggplant.
This time I decided to throw a whole eggplant in the oven to roast for about one hour, along with a head of garlic and 1/2 a red onion.
When they were soft and their flavors concentrated, I pureed the eggplant with the onion and three of the roasted garlic cloves with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
I then put it on the stove to simmer and added a can of Trader Joe's curried chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and spinach. A little bit of half and half to smooth out the sauce and my dish was done.
I ate the dish on its own for lunch the next day with some grilled chicken breast, and it was delicious as well as gluten-free. I gave some to my friend, Kate, and she served it as an appetizer with pita bread.