Roasted Chinese Eggplant with Balsamic Marinade

  • Active Time 15m
  • Total Time 4h 35m

Makes 10 halves; Serves 6 as a first course

I like to make this with the slender, lavender, Chinese eggplants; but other slender eggplants such as the French Barbentane, or the Italian violetta lunga, or even the small Japanese make very satisfactory substitutes. The eggplants make an attractive addition to a mixed vegetable hors d'oeuvre, in which case, the ten halves should serve as many people. Careful deep scoring of the eggplant flesh lets the flavors permeate it in a dramatic way. Score all the way down to the skin without cutting it.


  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 Chinese eggplants (about 6 to 8 ounces each, about 2 pounds total), stem end trimmed but with calyx left on, cut in half lengthwise, and flesh scored deeply in a diamond pattern


Place rack in lowest level of oven. About 20 minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees F.

In a mortar with a pestle, or on a cutting board with a knife, smash the garlic with the salt and pepper until it is a smooth paste. Put the vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the paste until it is smooth. Whisk in olive oil until smooth. Pour mixture into an 18 x 13 x 2-inch roasting pan. Put the eggplant in the pan. Rub mixture all over, especially into the cut flesh. Arrange each half cut side down in the pan.

Leave eggplant to marinate at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. Roast until browned, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the freshness and size of the eggplant. I like them cooked a full 30 minutes to get a maximum of browning and caramel flavor. When stuck with the tip of a sharp knife, the eggplant should be soft throughout--there should be no resistance.

Eggplant may be served warm from the oven or made ahead and served at room temperature. If made ahead, reheat briefly in a 500 degrees F oven about 10 minutes.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 6316

nutrition information per serving

114 calories; 9g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 633mg sodium; 8g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 1g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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