Oven Roasted Garlicy Fairytale Eggplant With Crispy Topping

By Kira Zhang. Adapted from Chef Joe Ogrodnek's Recipe.

This weekend I encountered these adorable little eggplants at the Narrowsburg Farmer's Market. Of course I had to buy them.

fairytale eggplant from the farmer's market

I usually associate eggplant to a heavier dish (heavy oil, heavy sauce), and I wasn't really feeling that in this humid summer. So I went online and saw this wonderful recipe by Chef Joe Ogrodnek. It looked light and refreshing! The juxtaposition of the gooey roasted eggplant with fresh herb and crispy crunchy peanuts made my mouth water just by thinking about it.

I tweaked the recipe based on what I had on hand and made it vegan (the original recipe called for fish sauce). This is how it turned out: finished dish



  • 10-15 Fairytale Eggplant
  • 2 Heads of Garlic
  • 2 Rosemary Sprigs
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Black Pepper


  • 1 Lime, Zest Grated and Juice Squeezed
  • 1 Small Red Chili Pepper, unseeded, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Sugar (I used Madhava Coconut Sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Grated Peeled Ginger
  • 2 Cloves of Grated Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Hot Water



  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with foil.
  2. Toss fairytale eggplants in olive oil, add salt and grind a generous amount of pepper.
  3. Cut garlic horizontally in half. Put on the rosemary sprigs and drizzle olive oil over. Wrap the garlics and rosemary sprigs in a piece of tin foil.
  4. Lay out the eggplants onto the baking sheet. Put the tin foil wrapped garlic on the baking sheet as well. Roast them in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Prepare the dressing by combining the lime zest, lime juice, finely chopped chili pepper, coconut sugar, soy sauce, grated ginger and grated garlic. Then, use 3 tbsp of hot water to dissolve the sugar and help the dressing to combine.
  6. When the eggplants and garlics are done roasting, use a small knife to slit the eggplants (leave the stem attached).
  7. Squeeze the garlic cloves out into the slits of the eggplants.
  8. Mix chopped herbs and thinly sliced shallot with the eggplants. Toss evenly with the dressing. Finish off by adding crushed peanuts and crunchy fried onion bits. Sprinkle smoked maldon salt.