Oh the things you can do with an eggplant

I love eggplant. I love it so much I sometimes buy it for the hell of it. I just like to know I have one in my fridge. Why? Because when you crave it, it’s so easy to make! And there’s so many different ways to cook it. I have a couple more recipes up my sleeve but I’ll save those for a later blog because they’re a little more complicated. For now, though, here are a few ways you can cook eggplant.

unnamed-3And of course I have to tell you how cheap they are, especially in Haymarket Square. If you live in Boston, I highly recommend taking a trip to Haymarket on a Friday or Saturday to load up on your fruits and veggies. The two eggplant I cooked with today… cost me $1.00.  Yes, that’s 50 cents each. And I literally could feed 8-10 people OR MORE with both of them.  And of course I picked up an enormous bunch of fresh basil…

The three ways I’ve chose to cook my cheapo eggplant today for you are: Fried (two ways). One in an egg batter and one with breadcrumbs. Both can be used as parmesan, in a sandwich, or eaten simply on it’s own, which is what I do. Grilled, which can be served on an antipasto or in a sandwich as well. And tapenade, which is like a chunky spread that can be served on top of meat or chicken, or served with bread. It’s a winner either way.

Fried Eggplant — Two Ways

Ingredients:

1 Large Eggplant
4 Eggs beaten
2C Flour or 2C Breadcrumbs
Olive Oil for frying
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder

Breadcrumbs: Slice your eggplant, skin on, into 1/4 slices. You can slice it the long way or the short way. Heat some olive oil in a skillet, about a 1/2 inch. Season the eggplant with salt, pepper and garlic powder… about 1t of pepper and 1T of garlic powder. Mix. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.

Drop the salted eggplant into the egg batter followed by the breadcrumbs. Fry until golden brown.

Egg Batter: Slice the eggplant the same way, skin on, and season with salt. Heat some olive oil in a skillet, about a 1/2 inch. Same. This time, however, you are going to season the flour with the pepper and garlic powder, same amounts… 1t of pepper and 1T of garlic powder. Drop the salted eggplant into the FLOUR FIRST, followed by the egg. Fry until light, golden brown.

Season both versions of fried eggplant with salt the absolute second it comes out of the oil.

Grilling: Slice the eggplant the same way…. or if you want a thicker cut you can go to 1/2 inch. With a culinary brush, cover each eggplant slice — both sides — with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for about 3-4 minutes.

IMG_8102If you want to make eggplant parmesan, I suggest using the egg-battered eggplant. If you missed that blog post, it’s linked here, where you’ll also find a recipe for homemade marinara sauce that goes great with the parmesan dish. You could even make the sauce and serve it as a dipping option for either version of the fried slices.

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Tapenade:

Ingredients:

1 Large Eggplant
1 Shallot chopped
1 Can Diced or Whole Tomatoes
1/2 C Fresh Basil chopped
4 Garlic Cloves  chopped
1/4 C Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Optional:
1/2 C Green Olives chopped
1/4 C Capers

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Dice the eggplant, skin on, into 1-inch cubes and place in an oven-safe casserole dish, i.e. glass Pyrex. Add the olive oil, shallot and basil, season with salt and toss. Add the can of tomatoes, no juice. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until the eggplant is soft.

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Eggplant 2You can also STUFF eggplant by scooping out the middle and using the pulp  in the stuffing. I can’t post that recipe though… it’s in my latest cookbook. See below for purchase link.