Roasted Fairy Tale Eggplants

Fairy Tale Eggplants start to pop up at the Farmer's Market and grocers in the middle of summer.  These charming nightshades are lovely roasted whole, served with a smokey romesco, pickled shallots, marcona almonds, and honey.

yields 1 plate

Roasted Fairy Tale Eggplants:

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line a sheet pan with foil, place eggplants on pan.  Coat each eggplant with a thin layer of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast eggplants in oven until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes- make sure to flip eggplants halfway through the roasting process.  Remove eggplants from oven, and set aside. 

Plating:

On your serving plate: spoon some of your romesco sauce directly onto the middle of the plate, then spread to form a large circle.  Plate roasted eggplants directly on romeso, side-by-side.  Lay pickled shallots across the middle of all four eggplants, in a line.  Sprinkle chopped marcona almonds, the a few chives directly on shallots.  Drizzle honey around the circumference of the romesco, and directly on the eggplants.  Finish with flake salt and cracked pepper.

Pairing:

beer: American Porter.  Cooking the eggplants at such high heat imparts some caramelization and char, adding to roast of the porter.  The romesco imparts a touch of heat; the porter compliments this and adds to the complexity.  Some beers to look for: Deschuttes Black Butte, Flying Dog Road Dog, Odell Cutthroat.

cocktail: Yellow Nectarine Sangria