The Trick to Perfectly Browned, Crispy Baked Eggplant

published Jun 25, 2021
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Credit: Maria Midoes

Sometimes it just takes one post on Twitter to remind us of a great home cooking trick. Case in point, this one from Adam Roberts, who shot to food blogging fame as the Amateur Gourmet. He shared a better way to roast eggplant in your oven so that it gets “so dark and brown and good,” which is truly eggplant’s finest form.

Calling it “one of the best tricks I learned from a cookbook,” Roberts explains that instead of baking eggplant on a rack, he puts the baking pan directly on the bottom of the oven. The trick comes from Nancy Silverton’s Mozza at Home which came out five years ago — but, as Roberts says, is “a cookbook gem.”

He expands on both the trick and the recipe it comes from in a blog post from last year. In it, he talks about the “epic” process of making eggplant lasagna. “It’s not enough to just brown the eggplant in your oven,” he explains. “You have to brown it on the oven floor to expose it to the maximum amount of heat.”

But even if you aren’t planning to spend three days going super extra on every detail for an incredible vegetarian lasagna, the eggplant tip makes a useful trick. After just 15 to 20 minutes in a 500-degree oven with a little bit of tossing with a metal spatula, the eggplant gets super dark and crisp. “This’ll produce a lot of steam, so be careful when you open the oven door,” Roberts reminds readers. Oh, and one more thing: “This might set off your smoke detector.”