I don’t often find myself alone in the house for more than a few hours. I prefer it that way. I like the companionship of having other people around, of being together even if that means sitting quietly on opposite ends of the apartment doing different things. It’s comfortable for a psuedo-introvert like me to “spend time” with people without always having to interact. There were and are always people coming and going in my home. Someone arriving, someone knocking on your door to chat, someone to sit and watch tv with at the end of the day. Now there are three of us: Jeff, me, and our roommate living in this relatively small apartment. And while the extreme rents of San Francisco are certainly part of our decision to live together, that’s not the whole story. It’s nice to have someone else’s perspective around, to have someone else’s thoughts and ideas and friends and presence filling up the house. Like now as we sit in different parts of the house, working on separate projects, listening to someone’s music in companionable quiet.
The flip side of that is there are rarely more than a few hours when I’m the only one home. A few weeks ago I found myself home alone for a whole weekend and it dawned on me that it might be the first time even in this apartment that it’s happened. And naturally I took full advantage. I blasted my most embarrassing music (Backstreet Boys and LFO) without worrying about someone coming home and catching me mid-lip sync. I curled up on the couch with a pile of blankets and a new TV show to binge on. I left my dirty dishes on the living room floor for far longer than I would have gotten away with if someone else was home. It was wild and crazy times around here. Or at least indulgent and selfish times. It was good.
I ate a lot of eggplant that weekend while I had the time to myself, which seemed like a kind of weird craving. I mean, I like eggplant roasted or fried or blitzed into baba ghanoush, but it’s never at the top of my favorite foods list. But I also almost never eat it. No one else in this house likes it much and so it’s never really around. There are too many other foods that come first on my “you must eat this” list to bother much with eggplant. But with a house to myself and no one else to feed it was what I ate for at least four meals over the weekend. Two eggplants go a long way when there’s only one person eating. And sometimes, it’s nice to just sit and eat eggplant for one.
Eggplant Parmesan for One
Inspired by the roasted eggplant dish in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 small eggplant, about 1 lb, stem removed and cut in half
1 cup cherry tomatoes or half cup tomato sauce
A few spoonfuls of pesto
Grated cheese (optional)
Fresh thyme (optional)
PREHEAT the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and rub it with a few spoonsfuls of oil. Place the eggplant halves on the baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle them with salt.
TOSS the cherry tomatoes in a medium bowl with some salt and olive oil, and thyme is you’re using it. Then set the bowl aside.
ROAST the eggplant halves for 15 minutes, then flip them cut side down and add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Roast for another 15 minutes until the eggplant is soft and the cut side is browned. At this point the tomatoes should also be softened and burst. Remove the pan from the oven.
TRANSFER the eggplant halves to a plate and top with the cherry tomatoes or tomato sauce. Add grated cheese if you’re using it, I like provolone or parmesan. Then top with pesto.
Since it’s a solo meal, it’s best enjoyed with a stack of magazines or a trashy TV show. You can also roast several eggplants at once and reheat them as needed. They’ll keep for a week or two in the fridge.