About Eggplant Eggplants are a beautiful fruit in the same family as tomatoes and peppers. They are usually dark purple but sometimes white, green, lavender or striped. There are basically two types: the Italian type which is larger and ovoid and the Oriental type which is typically long and thin and usually smaller than the Italian type. Both types can be used interchangeably but some recipes suit one more than the other. Eggplants really like warm weather and we feel lucky for every one that we harvest in Maine. Keep eggplants at room temperature and eat when they are fresh. Eggplants are eaten cooked. We like them sliced, marinated and then grilled. They can be fried, baked or sautéed. Many people tell us that they never like eggplant until they tried ours.
Baked Eggplant Italiano (adapted from 500 Treasured Country Recipes) ½ pound tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 tsp sea salt 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced 3 Tbs olive oil 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 C fresh basil 1 C grated mozzarella cheese Pepper ¼ C grated Parmesan cheese
Mix tomato slices and salt and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. Preheat broiler. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and place in a baking sheet. Broil until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Alternate layers of eggplant, garlic, basil, tomato slices, mozzarella and pepper. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake until golden and bubbly.
Baba Ganouj 1 eggplant 1/4 C. olive oil 1-3 chopped garlic cloves 1/2 C. tahini Juice of a lemon 1 ripe, diced tomato Poke a few holes in the eggplant with a fork and grill or broil it until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft. Set it in a bowl to steam until it's cool enough to touch. Skin the egglant and chop it up finely. Combine all ingredients and serve warm.
Summer Vegetable Medley #22
Heat a heavy cast iron skillet until hot. Add ¼ cup olive oil and add 1 chopped onion, cooking and stirring until clear. Add 1 eggplant cubed, 1 large chopped tomato and one sliced summer squash. Cook stirring until Eggplant is soft. Add minced garlic and chopped basil. Eat alone or on pasta, rice, or bread. We eat some variation of this almost every day for lunch in summer.
Ratatouille 2 eggplant, sliced 2 summer squash or zucchini, sliced 2 onions, diced 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced 1/2 C. olive oil 2 sweet peppers, seeded and diced 1 lb. tomatoes, diced 1/4 tsp. Worchester sauce Salt and pepper 1 T. parsley, chopped
Broil the eggplant lightly, 3-4 minutes per side. Saute the onions until soft, then add peppers and garlic. Cook until peppers are just tender. Simmer the tomatoes until they reduce to a thick sauce. Add the Worchester sauce and salt and pepper. Combine the tomatoes with the peppers. Brown the zucchini lightly in batches. Combine the eggplant and zucchini with the tomato mixture. Check the seasonings. Serve either warm or cold.