There is nothing wrong with eggplant in a taco. We do not need to keep eggplant hidden from sight, covered up with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in a casserole dish and baked for hours. Please. It’s summer. There are so many interesting things to do with eggplant while it’s here.
Eggplant was on every menu I saw on my recent trip to Sicily, and usually, it was salted for hours, then the salt rinsed off and fried. You can do that if you want to. I never bother. Instead, I either slice eggplant into rounds or chunky cubes, toss in some olive oil, and roast it in a super hot oven. The hard part is not eating it all right off the pan when the eggplant has browned, crispy edges. Try not to.
I always make big batch of roasted eggplant, so I can make things like these tacos, and then freeze what’s leftover for another time. Roasted slices freeze beautifully, too, and are great on homemade pizzas. Or layered into flat enchiladas. You get the drift.
Here, I also roasted a poblano pepper and caramelized some onions (a 45-minute process, but if you do this while you’re doing other things, it’s no big whoop), which gave the tacos a fancier vibe than my usual shove-whatever-I’ve-got-leftover-in-the-fridge method of assembly. I had some homemade Salsa Verde on hand, too, which brightened up the whole deal.
Eggplant Tacos with Roasted Poblano + Caramelized Onions
Makes 6 to 8 tacos
- 2 large white onions, cut into half-moons
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus a bit more for spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (1 ½ to 2 pound) eggplant, chopped into 1-inch cubes
- 1 poblano pepper
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salsa Verde, for serving
- lime wedges, for serving
- cilantro, for serving
- 6 to 8 corn tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Toss the eggplant cubes on a large baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Salt and pepper the eggplant. Bake until browned, for about 40 minutes, turning over once.
- While the eggplant’s cooking, caramelize your onions. Put the onions along with 2 tablespoons (you’ll add 2 more as these cook down) of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low to low heat. Cook slowly, for about 45 minutes, allowing the onions to gradually brown. Add oil and salt and pepper as you go. (Save time: Make this in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to make tacos.)
- Roast the poblano pepper. If you have a gas stovetop, simply put the poblano on the grill, and let the flame burn the skin, turning with tongs so you roast all sides. If you don’t have a gas stovetop, this will also work under the broiler. After all sides are equally charred, put the pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool. Then, simply scrape off the charred bits, slice the pepper open, and remove the seeds. Once cool, slice into thin strips.
- At the very last minute, wilt your spinach in a skillet over medium-high heat with a little olive oil (it doesn’t need much), along with the cumin and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toast as many tortillas as you need over the open flame and serve. Layer: eggplant, a few strips of poblano, some caramelized onions and spinach. Top with Salsa Verde and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side.