Friday, May 27, 2011

An Eggsellent Dinner

Photo from
One of the things I enjoy about getting a CSA box is that they often throw in things I wouldn't otherwise think to buy for myself.  This week, we got an Eggplant!  I can't say I've ever really learned to appreciate eggplant.  My mother seemed to enjoy them, but I don't recall her making it very often.  I know she had a love of Eggplant Manicotti, and I think she made that once that I recall.  I don't remember being all that impressed, but it was a long time ago.  I don't recall having tried it on my own since.

But with a beautifully purple fruit in my possession, I couldn't help but see what I could do.  I wasn't really thinking Manicotti, but Eggplant Parmigiana sounded like a good choice.

I dug through various recipes, and they mostly said the same things.  Bread the eggplant, fry it, layer it between homemade tomato sauce, slices of mozzarella, and basil leaves  up in 2-3 layers in a baking dish, and bake until it is melty and toasty.  

I started with a 28 oz can of peeled whole tomatoes which I emptied into a sauce pan on medium heat.  To that, I added half an onion (cut in half.. so two quarters) left intact, 5 tablespoons of butter, a shake or two of salt, one clove of garlic, minced, and about half a cup of red wine.

I left that to simmer down, occasionally smashing the tomato pulp against the pan with a spoon.

I sliced the eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and dipped them in flour, then egg, then seasoned bread-crumbs.  Then in about 1/2 inch of olive oil, I fried them until golden.

Back to the sauce, once it had cooked down, and the onion was translucent, I removed the onion, and used a potato masher to break down the remaining pulp.  I suppose I could have broke out the immersion blender, but I wanted to have it a little chunky.  I let it simmer a while longer until it thickened.

Once the sauce was ready, I broke out the small baking dish (if you use 2-3 eggplants, go for the 13x9 dish), and starting with the sauce, I layered it with the eggplant, slices of mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and parmigiana reggianno, and managed 3 layers with about 12 slices from the one eggplant.  Sauce on top, more parm, and into the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 350 until it starts to brown and is all melty.

Not only is it vegetarian, but with this preparation, even a meat lover like me won't miss it.  I'm going to have to start hunting down my own eggplant now. :-)

1 comment:

  1. In Cambodia I used to eat eggplant on a weekly basis. It's great and can make a nice alternative to meat.

    One very "asian" way to cook eggplant is to roast it over coals, turning occasionally to avoid scorching the skin until the eggplant "deflates". Then you slice it open, scoop out the flesh and enjoy! It's great if you throw in some garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of soy sauce.