I feel kind of silly posting this, as it barely qualifies as a recipe. But sometimes it's nice to get ideas for simple preparations that we might otherwise overlook...right?
I think that broccoli is one of the most underrated vegetables for roasting. I usually see it boiled or steamed, but it is excellent when roasted at a high heat. The little buds on the florets get brown and very crispy, and the caramelization brings out broccoli's natural sweetness. It's also a very forgiving preparation if your broccoli isn't the best quality or if it's been sitting in the fridge a bit too long.
Conventional eggplant is watery and bitter due to the size and high seed content. To combat this, you can salt the cut eggplant, let it drain, then press out the moisture with paper towels. This is very effective but kind of a pain. So, I use Chinese or Japanese eggplants. These are small and slender, much less watery, and with far fewer seeds. As a bonus, because of their shape, you can get the skin (the most nutritious part) on every bite.
I'm on a Penzeys kick right now, and I am crazy about their Northwoods seasoning for anything roasted. You can absolutely substitute any seasoning you prefer, or even just use salt and pepper. To approximate Northwoods, I'd probably do 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and 1/8 tsp dried thyme. It won't be exact, but I'm sure it would be a fine substitute.
SIMPLE ROASTED BROCCOLI AND EGGPLANT
(Note: you can really use whatever amounts you want, this makes enough to fill a single baking sheet)
- 6 oz (weight) broccoli florets (the pre-cut raw broccoli is fine for this if you're lazy)
- 1 medium or 2 small Chinese or Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut into chunky half-moons
- 1 tsp (or to taste) seasoning of choice, such as Penzeys Northwoods
- Extra virgin olive oil (I put mine in a refillable pump bottle)
- 1 Tbs pesto (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450
- Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with oil. Add the veggies, spray with more oil, add seasoning, and toss to distribute.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes (check after 10 minutes)
- If desired, toss with pesto. Serve.