Small on size, but big on taste29

Posted on May 9, 2008 by ChristieGluten Free, Snacks & Starters, Vegan, Vegetarian

[Roasted baby eggplants with mustard vinaigrette]

[Raw baby eggplants]

UPDATE 01/06/08: This canape has been entered into the Monthly Mingle competition! Which was started by Meeta from the blog What’s for lunch honey? (I love that name!). This month it’s being hosted by Mansi from the blog Fun With Food, so hop on over there and check out all the entries.

I saw these at the vegetable market and I couldn’t resist. I’m a big fan of miniature vegies and especially love the vibrant purple colour of these baby eggplants. It’s such a shame that the colour doesn’t keep when you roast them. Maybe next time I’ll try steaming them to preserve it.

Eggplants are absolutely delicious roasted where the firm flesh becomes soft and the bitter taste mellows to a deeply savoury and smoky flavour. I think they make a wonderful starter served with a sharp mustard vinaigrette and garnished with spring onions or scallions. I like serving the dressing on the side in cute little spoons so that my guests can add it as they go.

Because of the mini size they are also perfect as canapes. Simply serve individually topped with a slice of mozzarella and a fresh basil leaf. Perfecto!

Happy cooking, Christie

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Roasted baby eggplant with mustard vinaigrette
serves 4 as a starter

8 baby eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Spring onions / Scallions to garnish

Slice the baby eggplants in half length ways and place cut side up in a single layer on a large roasting tray. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with sea salt and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender. Pierce the centre of one with the tip of a sharp knife to test if it’s done. It should be very soft in the centre with the skin crisped around the edges.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients until combined.

Serve 4 halves per person on small plates. Scatter over the onions and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Or serve the dressing separately if you like.

  • This looks great – very simple, but very delicious. I like your canape idea too!

  • those are truly adorable vegetables, and they look so perfectly roasted.

  • those eggplants are so cute! beautiful vinaigrette too :) x

  • Clarie

    What you call “Baby Eggplant” are not “baby” or an immature vegetable (actually botantically it’s a fruit), but is a mature variety of eggplant often called “Indian Eggplant”.

  • Whoa! Looks amazzzing. I have never had baby eggplant before but I imagine I would love it.

  • To me, eggplants usually scream out for green curry and coconut milk, but I am going to branch out and try your vinaigrette. Yum!

  • Din

    Beautiful pics Christie!

  • I have never heard or seen of baby eggplants…so cute and I bet they were wonderful once roasted up.

  • Hi Fearless Kitchen,
    Thanks! The canape is so easy to make and the creamy mozarella goes so well with the earthy eggplant.

    Hi Michelle,
    Cheers for the roasting compliment – it’s a fine line between crisped and burnt ;) Luckily I got it just right this time.

    Hi Diva,
    Thanks, glad you like it!

    Hi Clarie,
    Thanks for clearing that up! Whatever they’re called, they’re delicious :)

    Hi Hillary,
    I bet you would! They taste just like the big version, but just look cuter.

    Hello again Tangobaby,
    I agree that eggplants are a match made in heaven in Thai curries, especially the little pea sized ones. I like to change it up though, you know?

    Hi Din,
    Thank you, you’re too kind.

    Hi Noble Pig, (Love that name!)
    They were absolutely scrumptious, give em a try!

  • Kim

    Love it Christie! My kind of food and the pics are fantastic……….

  • That mustard vinaigrette sounds like something that can make me eat eggplants. Yup-I am not a fan of egg plants. But with vinaigrette…maybe….:D

  • Hi Kim,
    Thank you! I’m pretty happy with the pics too :)

    Hi Tigerfish,
    Hmmm, glad I could change your mind!

  • Hi Christie,

    I absolutely adore eggplant but have yet to try baby ones. Wondering of the difference in taste. I’ll have to ‘hunt’ them down one day to find out!


  • Hi Pixie,
    I hope you find them! They taste almost exactly like regular large eggplants except they roast much faster and the skin crisps up a bit more (which is a good thing!).

  • Mag

    Very simple healthy recipe, thanks a lot!
    I found few weeks ago some of these eggplants in a Korean grocery store, so I stuffed them and cooked them. But I will try yours soon :)

  • Those baby eggplants look nice! I bet the roasted eggplant went well with the mustard vinaigrette. Roasting eggplants is my favorite way to prepare them.

  • I love it when food is cute AND delicious. I like the vinaigrette – simple but tasty and elegant. I’ll have to make these, so far I’ve only had eggplant one other time!

  • Hi Mag,
    Oooh, head back to the Korean shop and get some more to make this. I’d love your stuffed recipe… will head over to your blog.

    Hi Kevin,
    I agree, roasting is definitely the best way. Especially if then they are mashed into a delicious dip.

    Hi Sophie,
    Me too! Only eaten eggplant once? I’m shocked! :)

  • Y

    Those are so cute. I’ve seen them before, but haven’t used them. I imagine they would be great presentation wise, if they were stuffed.

  • I don’t think I have ever seen baby eggplants before. What cute little devils. What a great way to cook em too.

  • Hi Y,
    They are fabulous for presentation and are so small they can be used as a canape base – very handy!

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks! I hope you find some and give them a try. :)

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen eggplants so cute. I’ve seen the slender Japanese ones but they look like purple tamarillos!

  • These are the favorites in india; we slice and stuff them with filling then cook them in a curry!:) but I loved your healthy roasted edition! and looks pretty too!

    btw, this would be a great addition to the Monthly Mingle-Appetizers event I’m hosting on my blog…it’d be great if you could send these in!:)

  • I’ve already tried baby eggplants. Excellent in dessert recipes too!

  • Love eggplant and FYI steaming takes the color out too! Oh well…love the brown roasted look too! Love your site!

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  • Lynn

    These sound lovely, but there isn’t an indication of what temperature to use. Can you please edit the recipe and add that?


    • Hi Lynn, They need a hot oven 180C/350F. Hope you enjoy them! Christie

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