Roasted Baby Eggplants with Fresh Tomato Sauce

A Farmer's Market Treat

During the summer and early fall, my husband and I have a Saturday morning ritual of going to the local farmers’ market. It’s been a new ritual for us, as over the years we participated in a CSA with a single local farm. This year we decided to frequent farmers’ markets instead in part so that we could get to know new neighbors, but also so that we could explore new varieties of vegetables from a wide range of growers.

This past Saturday was our last visit for the season, and I already miss it. Located in a field in Norwich, Vermont, the stalls are always filled with artists, artisan cheese makers, bakers with everything from savory olive bread to seasonal fruit pies, and, of course, farmers. While we enjoyed a little bit of flavor from everyone, we were drawn most often to a small stand in the corner of the market. Managed by two women and a charming toddler, we found their tomatoes and eggplant in all sorts of varieties and colors we’d not known before. Their meat was flavored with the fields where their animals pastured, and their excitement for their work came home with us in our basket. Putting Down Roots Farm, in South Royalton, Vermont, has become a new favorite resource for flavor and inspiration.

This Roasted Baby Eggplant in Fresh Tomato Sauce is made almost entirely from ingredients from the farmers’ market and local vendors (see listing at the end of this post). Colorful, tiny eggplant are bathed in Turkish olive oil and sprinkled with Turkish spices, then roasted in the oven until deeply browned and tender. While they roast, a quick fresh tomato sauce is prepared on the stove top. It’s a simple sauce that’s flavored with fresh garlic and finished with balsamic vinegar. When the eggplants are ready, they are covered with the sauce and a few spoonfuls of softened goat cheese, then roasted again until both the sauce and cheese are bubbly and tender. We ate them alongside some fresh pasta with pesto sauce, but they are hearty enough to make a main course. Just add some bread and wine, and you are all set.

Thank you for all your warm words in response to my email last week. You are my generous readers and friends.

Look forward to more recipes soon. I am back.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.


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