Jul
09
    
Posted (Lori) in News

THE EGGPLANT STARTS

Last year, we got a ton of eggplants—but most of us never tired of them. Eggplants are versatile—they show up all over the menu, as main dishes, soups, dips, appetizers, and sides; they work in sandwiches and salads and stews. Here are the recipes we used last year to deal with our glut of eggplants; I don’t know if we’ll get as many this year, but we’re ready.

I deal with eggplants three ways: roast them and use the pulp; I cube or dice them and either sauté or steam the cubes/dice; or I slice them and broil the slices. I very rarely bread them and fry them for eggplant parmesan—I think that’s a real chore.  Here are tips and recipes for all three mthods.

(I just thought of a fourth way—I dip them in a flour-and-water batter and fry them. I just mix about ¼ cup of flour with about 1/8 cup of water and mix until the batter is smooth and thick enough to stick to 1/8” thick slices of eggplant (or squash or mushrooms). Heat a few tablespoons of oil on a skiller—not for deep frying just enough to come about half-way up the 1/8” slice. When the oil is hot but not smoking lay the eggplant slices on it in one layer. Fry until one side is done maybe a minute not more than two minutes; then flip and fly the other side. The whole thing takes less than five minutes. Drain on paper towels, add salt and eat hot.)

PULP

When eggplants are subjected to high heat, their insides turn soft and mushy and for some reason smoky. This pulp is not pretty, but it’s delicious, low-calorie, full of antioxidants and many recipes are based on it.

There are several ways to turn an eggplant into pulp:

–Prick it with a fork wrap it in foil loosely place it in a 400 degree oven and leave it there for about an hour until it collapses and the skin is black. Allow to cool, split and then scrape out the pulp

–OR don’t wrap in foil just put in on a baking sheet;

–OR—cut it in half brush the exposed flesh with oil place face down on a cookie sheet as above

–OR—impale on a knife or skewer and hold over a flame until blackened and soft (I’m including this one because it’s on a lot of websites, but it sounds like a good way to burn your fingers and drop your eggplant into the fire).

Once you’ve scraped the pulp—don’t worry if you get a few bits on skin—you can freeze it or use it any of these recipes; the flesh will last for a couple of days in a tightly closed plastic bag or container. Some of these are repeats, but I thought we should have all our eggplant recipes in one place:

BABAGANOUSH: To the pulp from one large eggplant add (more or less to taste)

1 tbs mashed, crushed or minced garlic

1 tsp lemon juice

Salt and cayenne pepper

¼ cup tahini paste (it tastes better if you use more tahini, but that increases the calorie count and it’s a fine, fairly low-cal dip with just ¼ cup)

Mash it all up or if you want a smoother texture (and don’t hate washing the food processor as much as I do)—whirl in a food processor for a few seconds.

NB: The words ‘baba ganoush’ translate from Arabic to “pampered daddy.” According to the OED: he dish, was named “perhaps with reference to its supposed invention by a member of a royal harem.”

ABUGANOUSH, a variation on the baba variety: Instead of puree-ing the pulp, chop it roughly and combine with

A diced tomato

A diced cucumber

A diced pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

A diced onion or scallion.

Drizzle in some olive olive and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.

THAI EGGPLANT DIP: While you’re puree-ing the pulp, add:

2 tablespoons of finely minced fresh ginger

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil (start with one tablespoon and add more to taste).

Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped parsley.

BAGNACAUDAGANOUSH: I just made this one up, and it’s pretty good: Puree the pulp with:

several cloves of garlic—roasted garlic is even better

2-3 anchovy fillets.

Add oil to get the consistency you want. You probably won’t need salt—the anchovies are very salty.

BAKLAZHANNAIA IKRA (POOR MAN’S CAVIAR). The New York Times

Adapted from “Recipes: Russian Cooking” (Time-Life Books, 1969)

Scrape the pulp from 1 large, roasted eggplant and set aside.

1 cup finely chopped onions

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Dark rye or pumpernickel or sesame-seed crackers, for serving.

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the eggplant on a baking sheet in the center of the oven, turning it over once or twice, until it is soft and its skin is charred and blistered, about 1 hour.

In a skillet, cook the onions in 4 tablespoons oil over medium heat until they are soft but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the green pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. With a rubber spatula, scrape the contents of the skillet into a mixing bowl.

Chop the eggplant pulp into a mixing bowl and stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Mix together thoroughly. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over moderate heat and pour in the eggplant mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for 1 hour.

Uncover and cook 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape in a spoon. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Transfer the “caviar” to a mixing bowl and chill, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve. Serve on squares of bread or on sesame-seed crackers.

Yield: 3 cups.

PUNJABI EGGPLANT & TAMARIND (BAARTA) from: Jonathan Kandell

An adaptation of Siri Ved Kaur’s recipe for Baarta, northern indian roasted eggplant and tamarind, which turned out delicious.

The flavors mix really well.

Note from Lori—this sounds like a lot of trouble, but I thought some of you might have tamarind in your pantries.

To the pulp of 3 eggplants, add:

2 onions, sliced into thin  rings

5 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 t turmeric

1 t crushed red chile

1/2 t ground cumin

3/4 t black pepper

1 T ground corriander

2-3 ripe tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 C frozen peas

1 T tamarind concentrate*

4 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 C cilantro

[* Tamarind concentrate is available in Indian and Middle Eastern stores.

Don't buy the blocks of tamarind pulp by mistake as it's a pain to use].

Mix all the spices and crush them. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft, then add all the spices and heat until they begin to sizzle. Add the tomatoes and peas and continue cooking, stirring frequently until the tomatoes are dissolved and the mixture has a saucy consistency.(You may have to add a little water to prevent scorching.)

Mix the lemon juice and tamarind until smooth.

Add into the onion/tomato mixture.

Add the eggplant pulp to the pan; mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve warm or at room temperature.

EGGPLANT DIP WITH YOGURT (BORANI-E BADEMJAN)

Author Notes: Lightly adapted from Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food – Nicholas Day

To the pulp of two eggplants add:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup yogurt

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 clove of garlic, crushed (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the parsley or mint, if using. Taste again. Serve.

EGGPLANT PASTA SAUCE

In a saucepan, combine the pulp of large eggplant with:

3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

Sauteed or roasted vegetables

Your favorite herbs and spice

Stir until combined and hot. Serve over pasta, sprinkled with parmesan cheese

CUBED EGGPLANT: STEAMED

EGGPLANT COMPOTE, Joël Robuchon

SERVINGS: Makes 3 1/2 cups

Joël Robuchon ingeniously softens spongy eggplant by steaming it instead of sautéing it in oil. “Usually, cooked eggplant absorbs so much oil and becomes full of fat,” he says.

1 1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 medium tomatoes, coarsely grated on a box grater

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

1/4 cup tomato sauce, such as marinara or canned tomato puree

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Set the diced eggplant in a steamer basket. Set the basket over 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and steam the eggplant until tender, 12 minutes; drain well.

In a large skillet, combine the tomatoes with the garlic, cumin and paprika and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and the eggplant and simmer, gently stirring a few times, until the eggplant is flavored with the sauce, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper; add the lemon zest, cilantro and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead The compote can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Notes One Serving 39 cal, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 9 gm carb, 4 gm fiber, 2 gm protein.

CUBED EGGPLANT, SAUTEED

TUNISIAN EGGPLANT — From “Still Life With Menu” by Mollie Katzen

Preparation Time: About 40 minutes

Yield: Appetizer for six

Here is a South Mediterranean version of eggplant caponata (the famous Italian eggplant salad) featuring two outstanding guest stars: green olives and marinated artichoke hearts. It is so good it must be served as a course unto itself, accompanied by wedges of pita bread. (If you serve it with anything else, the other dish, no matter how good, might go unnoticed. *Ed Note: That is the TRUTH.)

It keeps beautifully, so go ahead and make it three or four days ahead of time, if that is most convenient for you.

1/4 cup olive oil (or more, as needed)

1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped

2 to 3 medium-sized cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)

1 large eggplant (peeling optional), cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup small pitted green olives

1 small jar (6 ounce) marinated artichoke hearts (drained, each piece cut into 2 or 3 smaller pieces)

pinches of dried tarragon, basil and/or oregano (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic and salt, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent (5 to 8 minutes).

Add the eggplant cubes, stir and cover. Cook until the eggplant is very well done (15 to 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add small amounts of additional oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to prevent sticking.

Stir in tomato paste and vinegar, and heat to the boiling point. Add the olives and remove from heat.

Stir in the artichoke hearts, then cool to room temperature. Taste to adjust the seasonings, adding the optional herbs, if desired.

Cover tightly and chill. Serve cold or at room temperature.

BROILED SLICED EGGPLANT

EGGPLANT SALAD WITH WALNUTS

Contributed by Dmitry Leonov

TOTAL TIME: 35 MIN

SERVINGS: 8

Terrific as a salad or a spread for flatbread, adzhapsandali is like a Georgian version of ratatouille. Grilling the eggplant gives the dish a luscious, smoky flavor.

Two 1-pound eggplants, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick drizzle or brushed with oil.

1 large jalapeño

Vegetable oil, for brushing

Salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

5 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Grilled flatbread, for serving

Broil  the eggplant until nicely charred and tender, about 4 minutes per side.

NOTE: Don’t let the oiled eggplant get too close to the broiling element (as I did) or it will catch fire (as mine did).

Transfer the eggplant to a work surface and let cool. Broil or sauté the jalapeño, turning, until charred and almost tender, about 4 minutes. Peel and seed the jalapeño, then finely chop it. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch dice.

In a large bowl, combine the cilantro, vinegar and garlic. Add the eggplant, jalapeño, tomatoes and onion, season with salt and toss. Garnish with the walnuts and serve with grilled flatbread.

Make Ahead The salad can stand at room temperature for up to 1 hour.

BROILED EGGPLANT SANDWICHES

Really, that’s the whole recipe—a couple of slices of broiled eggplant between slices of bread. The oil and smokiness seep into the bread and make the whole thing delicious. You can add other broiled vegetables—onions, squash, mushrooms, peppers—or condiments (horseradish sauce is nice) or cheese. But plain is just fine.

Really, that’s the whole recipe—a couple of slices of broiled eggplant between slices of bread. The oil and smokiness seep into the bread and make the whole thing delicious. You can add other broiled vegetables—onions, squash, mushrooms, peppers—or condiments (horseradish sauce is nice) or cheese. But plain is just fine.

Eggplant can also be cooked in the microwave, a bonus for hot nights.

ROMAN EGGPLANT (MICROWAVE)

1/4 c. butter

1 sm. eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/2 c. dry bread crumbs

1/4 tsp. salt

1 (8 oz.) can or jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms

Oregano

1 c. Mozzarella cheese, grated

Use 12 inch round platter with wax paper. Place butter on platter. Microwave on high 1-2 minutes until butter melts. Dip eggplant in butter, then into crumbs and salt, coating evenly. Return to platter, cover microwave on high 8-10 minutes, turning platter once. Spread sauce on eggplant, sprinkle with oregano and cheese. Cover microwave on “8? for 3 minutes. Can be served as main dish.

Baba Ghanouj ( Microwave Recipe)

by Tarla Dalal

1/3 cup sesame (til) paste (tahini)

1/3 cup peeled and chopped brinjals (baingan / eggplant)

1/3 cup curds (dahi) (or substitute shredded mozzarella or mild cheddar)

1/4 tsp chopped garlic (lehsun)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped mint leaves (phudina)—or try it with cinnamon basil

1/4 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

For The Garnish

1 tbsp sliced olives

3 to 4 mint sprigs (or basil)

In a greased microwave safe dish place the brinjal and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Cool, mash to a pulp and keep aside.

Combine all the other ingredients together in another bowl and mix well.

Lightly fold in the brinjal pulp. Refrigerate till chilled.

Garnish with olives and mint springs and serve with pita bread or cream cracker biscuits.

Miriam sent this recipe from Barefoot Contessa, by Ina Garten

ROASTED EGGPLANT SPREAD

2 medium eggplants, peeled

1 red bell pepper, seeded

1 red onion, peeled

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, cayenne and salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the lemon juice and tahini, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley. Garnish with extra parsley.

Aankit and Sweta sent this one; I’m pasting the main recipe below, but you’ll find more detailed instructions if you follow the link.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/02/mexican-fried-eggplant-sandwich-vegan-tortas-pambazos-recipe.html

Sweta wrote, “We made homemade pickled red onions and pickled peppers from the CSA bounty, use whichever greens have come that week, and add mayo and cotija cheese to make it non-vegan – it’s delicious!” We’ll probably get poblano peppers in a few weeks, so you might want to save the recipe for then.

MEXICAN FRIED EGGPLANT SANDWICH (VEGAN TORTAS AND PAMBAZOS)

Serves 4. Active time: 45 minutes. Total time: 1  hour

2 medium poblano peppers

1 medium egplant, cut into 1/2-inch planks

Kosher salt

1/2 cup flour

1 quart vegetable oil

1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs

1 cup homemade or store-bought vegetarian refried beans

2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

2 teaspoons dark molasses

4 hearty sandwich or hero rolls

3/4 cup pickled red onions

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Handful fresh cilantro leaves

1 avocado, sliced

If Making Pambazos:

1 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade red enchilada sauce

1.

Place poblano peppers directly over flame of a gas burner and cook, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, broil as close as you can get to broiler element, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly in plastic wrap, and set aside.

2.

Meanwhile, season eggplant slices evenly with salt and pepper. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and cover with another paper towel. Combine flour and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl. Season with salt. Place panko in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large wok, cast iron fryer, or Dutch oven to 375°F. Adjust flame to maintain temperature.

3.

Press down on eggplant slices to remove excess moisture, then transfer to bowl with flour/water mixture 3 to 4 pieces at a time. Lift eggplant, allow excess batter to drain, then transfer to breadcrumbs and toss to coat, pressing on crumbs to adhere firmly. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat until all eggplant is coated in crumbs.

4.

Working in batches (do not add more than a single layer of eggplant), carefully add eggplant slices to oil and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, season immediately with salt, and repeat until all eggplant is cooked.

5.

Carefully peel charred skin from poblano peppers, remove stems and seeds, and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch strips.

6.

In a small bowl, combine refried beans, chipotle peppers, and molasses. Stir with a fork until homogenous.

7.

To assemble sandwiches, split rolls in half. Spread bean mixture evenly over bottom halves. Top with pepper strips, fried eggplant, pickled red onions, shredded lettuce, and cilantro. Spread sliced avocados evenly on cut-side of top half of rolls. Close sandwiches, pressing down gently to compress.

8.

For tortas, serve as-is, or toast in a panini press or in a hot oven for a few minutes if desired.

9.

For pambazos, place enchilada sauce in a large bowl. Transfer sandwiches to bowl one at a time and spoon sauce over them until completely coated. Transfer to a panini press and grill until toasted and sauce is lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.



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