Before I say anything at all, I just want to state clearly that these eggplant boats are for eggplant lovers. Please do not make them if you have an aversion to eggplants – as if that is the case you be eating a lot of unwanted eggplant.
HOWEVER. If you do like eggplants, then these can make a great centerpiece for a largely plant based meal.
Now, if you are still reading and therefore an avid eggplant eater, then you will most probably know that eggplants have this thing. And that is that they can be bitter.
The bitterness level can differ. But it is usually present. A common method for getting rid of this bitterness is to lay your eggplant slices onto a paper napkin and coat them with salt. The salt acts to draw out moisture and whatever compounds there are in the eggplant which creates the bitterness.
Now of course with the eggplant boats there are no slices, just whole half eggplants. So I decided that a paltry sprinkling of salt on the halves was not going to cut it.
So what I did was after halving, I made criss cross cuts into the eggplant halves, without piercing the skin. Then I soaked the halves in a bowl with very salty water overnight. This was probably overkill, and I think an hour or so – providing the water is super salty – would do it.
When I was ready to cook the meal, I took the halves straight out of the water and placed them into my baking pan with the potato halves I wanted to bake.
Into the oven, to bake… and bake… and bake.
I do not know if I am being unreasonable and impatient, but I thought they took inordinately long to cook properly. Since I was doing baked potatoes as well, I did not get too worked up about it. However, the next time I do this dish I will pre-cook them first on the stove top. Ill let you know how it turns out.
Once they were (finally) done, I poured some olive oil over them, and topped with ricotta cheese. You could use any cheese, I am sure it would be tasty. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and you are good to go!
Exasperated Note on Cooking Time: if you have a convection oven like I do, and actually use it (like I am not), then baking something which takes FOREVER is not such a big deal I guess, as the energy usage is not so bad. But I like meals which manifest fairly quickly. Especially if they are vegetable based. Perhaps what is getting my goat is that because the selfish eggplants take so long to bake, I cannot list this recipe under my ‘Fast’ Healthy Meals category. And I’ll be damned if I made a ‘Takes a Thousand Years’ category.
- 2 Eggplants
- Ricotta (or other) cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Slice your eggplants in half.
- With your knife, make cuts into each half trying not to pierce through to the skin.
- Fill a bowl of water and add about 5 tablespoons of salt.
- Submerge the eggplant halves. You might want to weight them down with a plate, as they tend to bob to the surface.
- Let them soak for as much time as you have. Overnight is great, but an hour or so is also fine.
- Once you are ready to cook, place the halves on a tray. Drizzle olive oil into the cuts. If you want to throw in some potatoe halves to make use of the oven space, these cook at roughly the same pace.
- Turn the oven on to medium high and walk away. Do something else. When the halves are finally ready, top with generous amounts of ricotta cheese and salt and pepper to taste.