The eggplant comes in many shapes, sizes and shades of purple. For millennials, the eggplant might most be recognized by its Emoji fame. However, there is so much more to this purple gourd. For vegetarians like myself, the eggplant is a wonderful and tasty meat substitute. The eggplant is more versatile than people give it credit for. It can be grilled or sautéed for a healthy side dish, or it can be baked into a luxurious and hearty eggplant parmesan. Eggplant, aubergine — whatever one calls it — deserves to be given a chance by everyone. For the best quality eggplants, look for them before the end of the summer weather.
For eggplant preparation: About an hour before starting to cook, sprinkle sliced or chopped eggplant thoroughly with salt until all sides are covered. Place them in a colander or dish for about 30 minutes to an hour. This process helps remove the bitter taste from the eggplant.
Fried Eggplant Rounds
This is a great eggplant recipe to start with, mostly because you can do most anything with the fried rounds once you make them. Some great ideas include serving them with a salad or pasta dish, on eggplant sandwiches and burgers, and of course, you can use the rounds to create an eggplant parmesan dish.
1 large or 2-3 small eggplants, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 cups dry bread crumbs (I use Italian bread crumbs, but go with whatever will satisfy your taste.)
1/4 cup water
Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/2 inch thick and follow the directions above to drain the bitterness from the eggplant.
After the eggplant slices drain, rinse each slice with water until all the salt is removed. Dry the slices thoroughly. In a bowl, crack the two eggs and beat. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the eggs. In another large bowl, add the bread crumbs. Line the bowls up next to the stove. This will be your dredging station. Fill the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil. Keep the oil handy: You may need to add another batch of oil halfway into cooking the eggplant slices because bread crumbs will break off and inevitably keep cooking in the oil.
Heat the pan to medium. Once it’s hot, begin by dredging the slices first in the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Cook on both sides for a few minutes each or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with napkins to soak up excess oil. Serve as-is or with a meal of choice.
Garlic Eggplant with Capers
recipe courtesy moderngranola.com.
I found this recipe recently, as I was looking for a quick way to use a haul of eggplants from the farmer’s market. It’s delicious, easy and will complement pasta, salad or any meat dish.
1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
Pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano or an italian herb mix
1 tablespoon capers
1 lemon, juiced
Fresh basil to garnish
Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and follow the directions above to drain. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and wait until it begins to ripple. Add the eggplant to the pan and quickly toss. Let sit for 3 minutes. Mince the garlic and set aside for later. Add the salt and pepper to the eggplant. Cook, tossing the eggplant occasionally. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan to steam the eggplant. After about 10 minutes, push the eggplant to the edge of the pan and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the center. Then add the minced garlic and dried herbs. Toss them in the oil, and then mix in with the eggplant. Add the capers and lemon juice. Serve garnished with fresh basil.