3.23.2010

Eggplant Ideas

Oh Eggplant...how I love thee. Deep purple, almost black shiny skin with a white-colored pulp interior filled with soft, edible seeds are characteristics of this fruit from the berry family. Also called an aubergine, the eggplant gives way to a multitude of wonderful recipes. This fruit or vegetable, whatever you want to call it, is easy to cook with and works with almost any flavor. Very mild and slightly bitter, the eggplant soaks up any flavors you cook it in like a sponge. This makes it work with so many cuisines and cooking styles. You can fry it, steam it, saute it, or put it in a soup. Grill it, bake it, stuff it, and puree it are all things that you can do. Here are some ways I have prepared eggplant recently.


Lizzy M.'s Classic Eggplant and
Italian Sausage Red Gravy with Pasta


Extra virgin oliv
e oil
Dash of cr
ushed red pepper
1 medium yellow onion
, diced
Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp oregano

2 bay leaves

1 t
bsp tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 cup dry red wine
1 tsp sugar
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 lb Italian sausage (Use mild or hot o
r a combination of both. Also, you can use turkey or chicken Italian sausage for a healthier option.)
1 large eggplant, cut into large chunks (skin on)

Angel Hair pasta


Directions:

1. In a large pot, add in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of crushed red pepper over medium to high heat.


2. Add in the onions, salt and peppe
r, Italian seasoning, oregano and bay leaves and mix well. Saute for about 5 minutes.


3. Add the tomato paste and garlic. Stir well and saute for about 2 minutes. Then, add the red wine and sugar. Stir and let simmer for about 3 minutes before adding the crushed tomatoes. Stir well, lower the heat and cover.


4. While the flavors of the sauce marry, add 1 cup of water and the whole link of Italian sausage to a saute pan with a lid. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook covered for about 7-10 minutes. With tongs transfer the whole sausage to the red gravy. Allow to cook for 20 minutes on low heat covered.


5. With tongs transfer the sausage to a cutting board. Let the sausage rest for 10 minutes. Slice the sausage into 2 inch
pieces or whatever size you prefer and return to the red gravy.


6. Add the large eggplant chunks to the sausage and red gravy. Cook on low heat covered for an hour and a half or unt
il the eggplant is tender.


7. Prepare the Angel Hair pasta according to the package's directions.


This dinner is meant to be
a Sunday style dinner that simmers on the stove all day. Prepare the red gravy in the early afternoon and allow to simmer on low until evening and you have yourself a hearty, comforting Italian dinner. Check out the next recipe to see what to do with any leftover red gravy.


Lizzy M.'s Stuffed Eggplant

1 large eggplant, cu
t in half lengthwise
Extra virgin olive
oil
1 small yellow onion
, diced
Sea salt
Freshly ground
black pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

2 gar
lic cloves, grated or minced
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2
cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup red gravy or tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian blend


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 d
egrees.


2. After slicing the eggplant in half lengthwise, remove the pulp from the eggplant with a melon baller or spoon. Leave about a half inch of pulp remaining in the eggplant shell or "boat". Place pulp aside in a bowl.



3. Place the eggplant boats on a
baking sheet and brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.


4. While the eggplant boats cook, in a large saute pan, heat a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over medium to high heat.


5. Add the onions, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Saute for 5 minutes. Next add in the garlic and eggplant pulp. Saute for another 5-7 minutes. If the eggplant gets too dry, then add a bit more olive oil. Finally, add in the spinach, Panko and Parmesan and stir well. Turn off the heat.


6. Remove the eggplant boats from the oven and fill the boats with the eggplant pulp mixture. Top with a generous amount of red gravy and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.


Enjoy using this method to prepare eggplant but feel free to change what ingredients you add in the stuffing. Go Greek
-style with feta cheese, artichokes and olives. Try Cajun-style with andouille sausage, celery, green pepper and onions. You are only limited by your imagination for this one. The eggplant boat is your blank slate and you can create your own masterpiece!


Lizzy M.'s Eggplant with Lemon and Olives

Extra virgin olive
oil
Dash of crushed red pepper

1 medium eggplant
, cut into large chunks
Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup green olives
, chopped roughly
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped roughly
1/2 of a large lemon
Dash of garlic powder
1 cup red gravy or tomato sauce
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar


Directions:


1. In a saute pan with a lid, heat a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dash or red pepper. Add the eggplant chunks and a dash of salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook the eggplant over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.


2. Add the olives. Cut the half of lemon into 4 pieces and squeeze the juice into the pan. Then drop the squeezed lemons into the pan as well. Add the garlic, red gravy and vinegar. Stir well. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes.


Serve this tangy dish all by itself with crusty bread or with pasta. Shrimp would be the perfect protein to add to this dish. Take a few large shrimp with the tails on and add them into the saute pan at the last minute. Cook for a just a few minutes for a tangy and spicy shrimp and eggplant dish.



I hope you will enjoy these eggplant recipes to add to your repertoire. Let these ideas inspire you to get creative with your eggplant!



2 comments:

  1. I love all of these recipes! I am always trying to figure out something different to do with eggplant. Definitely trying the stuffed recipe soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Try the last one too...so good!

    ReplyDelete

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