“Please eat your vegetables!” How many parents spend mealtimes making that heartfelt plea to their kids only to get a resounding, “No!!” in reply? A lot. So much so that there are a plethora of recipes around that incorporate good-for-you foods using slight-of-hand techniques like adding pureed avocado to chocolate pudding or employing full on deception like those cheesy mashed potatoes that have not a potato in them but cauliflower instead.
Honestly, sometimes I have the same problem with my husband. It’s not that he hates vegetables. Quite the contrary — he loves veggies. Well, CERTAIN veggies. Others, he’d rather not try. But that hasn’t stopped me from being adventurous in the kitchen (and at the farmer’s market).
The latest delight has been eggplant — in particular, the fairy tale kind. Yes I know, technically eggplant is not a veggie; it’s a fruit. But I treat it like other veggies. And I’ve found the easiest way to introduce new vegetables to a picky eater is to roast them in the oven. No subterfuge necessary. The roasting typically brings out all the best qualities of the vegetable. Fairy tale eggplant is perfect prepared this way — and it certainly sounds tasty: fairy tale fries. Even my 5-year-old niece is intrigued by the name.
To make the FFTs, preheat your oven to 400 F. While it’s heating up, wash the eggplant, cut off the tops and then quarter them (slice in half length-wise and then slice each half length-wise again). Toss the quartered pieces in some olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Then top with a light sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. There’s only one caveat to this preparation, though. Typically, when I roast asparagus, squash, Portobellos and other veg, if there’s anything leftover, it’s good the next day. However, I don’t think fairy tale fries are leftover-friendly. So far, we haven’t had any leftovers to test – but the texture of the eggplant leads me to believe they’re best enjoyed just after roasting!