Eggplant Recipes

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As you should be able to tell by now, when it comes to cooking, most of the time I’m into easy. Easy eggplant is sliced, doused with a little olive oil and plunked on a hot grill. The heat eliminates the water, which is one of eggplant’s negative aspects when it comes to cooking. If you’re not grilling, don’t skip the salting step in the recipes below, especially for eggplant that will be breaded and fried or baked – it keeps the slices from turning to mush. Thinner slices are better for frying; they’ll cook completely and get crisp without burning. If you’re making ratatouille or another oven-cooked dish, you don’t need to salt.

Ratatouille

  • 2 large eggplants (about 2-2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Table salt
  • 2 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes (ripe), about 1 pound, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Ground black pepper

Place eggplant in large colander set over large bowl; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and toss to distribute salt evenly. Let eggplant stand at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Rinse eggplant well under running water to remove salt and spread in even layer on triple thickness of paper towels; cover with another triple thickness of paper towels. Press firmly on eggplant with hands until eggplant is dry and feels firm and compressed. Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and second rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil. Toss eggplant, zucchini, and 2 tablespoons oil together in large bowl, then divide evenly between prepared baking sheets, spreading in single layer on each. Sprinkle with salt and roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until well-browned and tender, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through roasting time. Set aside. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook until they release their juices and begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add roasted eggplant and zucchini, stirring gently but thoroughly to combine, and cook until just heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, basil, and thyme; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve. (Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Fried Eggplant

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 eggplants

Place eggplant in large colander set over large bowl; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and toss to distribute salt evenly. Let eggplant stand at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Rinse eggplant well under running water to remove salt and spread in even layer on triple thickness of paper towels; cover with another triple thickness of paper towels. Press firmly on eggplant with hands until eggplant is dry and feels firm and compressed. Slice eggplants crosswise, 1/2-inch thick. Stir together the flour, cornmeal, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and place in a shallow bowl or baking pan. Beat eggs in a similar separate bowl/pan. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. A few at a time, dip the eggplant pieces into the egg, then into the flour mixture, then back into the egg, and back into the flour mixture. Fry the eggplant in the hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.

Stuffed Eggplant

  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 2 cups spaghetti or marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush cut sides of eggplant with olive oil and place, cut-side up onto a baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile, brown the Italian sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain off the grease. Place into a mixing bowl, and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir in bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and the beaten egg; mix well. Once the roasted eggplant has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh to within 1/2-inch of the skin to create a shell. Roughly chop the eggplant meat, and fold into the sausage mixture. Divide evenly among the two eggplant shells, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven until the filling has set, and the cheese is bubbly and golden-brown, about 30 minutes. While the eggplant is baking, warm the remaining sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat to serve with the eggplant.

Classic Caponata from Southeastern Sicily

  • 2 pounds black-skinned eggplant, cut into
  • 1½-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced, plus 2 large cloves, crushed
  • ½ pound red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery half-moons
  • 15 pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 16-ounce can tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, plus more to taste
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds or pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup grated unsweetened chocolate (optional, but it adds depth of flavor)

Toss eggplant in a colander with several tablespoons of salt. Place colander in sink and let sit 30 minutes, allowing juices to drain. Rinse eggplant under water, then blot dry with a paper towel. Set aside.Heat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant with 4 tablespoons oil, then spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast eggplant, turning once, until crisp and golden, 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine vinegar and sugar, and set aside to let sugar dissolve.In a large skillet over low heat, sauté sliced garlic, onions and carrots in 3 tablespoons oil, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and carrots are cooked through, about 20 minutes. (Be careful not to let onions brown.) Stir in pepper strips, celery and olives, and continue cooking gently over low heat until celery just barely cooks, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, make tomato sauce: In small saucepan over low heat, sauté crushed garlic in 2 tablespoons oil until garlic has softened. Stir in drained tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have dissolved into a thick sauce, about 20 minutes. (If necessary, use a hand blender to purée tomatoes until smooth.) Stir in reserved vinegar-sugar mixture. Stir tomato sauce into sautéed vegetables. Gently fold in roasted eggplant, being careful not to smash vegetables. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Let rest, covered, several hours to allow flavors to meld. (Caponata can be made up to one week in advance. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.) Just before serving, garnish with almonds and chocolate, if using.

Creamy Summer Pasta with Eggplant and Tomatoes

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes cut in half, or diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sliced olives
  • 1 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
  • 10-14 medium-sized basil leaves, chopped

While you prepare the eggplant, cook the pasta according to the package directions, rinse it and drain well. In the meantime, heat a large skillet or a deep pan over medium/high heat and add the olive oil, the eggplant, the garlic, the salt, the pepper, and the thyme. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until eggplant is soft and tender. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan, add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the yogurt, half of the feta, the basil, and the pasta. Stir and cook until feta is just starting to melt, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the rest of the feta. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Mediterranean Eggplant Chips

  • 6 baby eggplants, thinly sliced along their length
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place eggplant slices in a large bowl. Add olive oil and spices to the bowl and gently toss with a fork until each piece of eggplant is coated in the spices. Place the eggplant slices on the trays of your dehydrator and dehydrate on the fruits/vegetable setting (about 135°F) for 4-5 hours until fully dried and crisp. Check the slices after 3-4 hours as some of the thinner slices may be ready by then. Let eggplant cool completely before storing in a container.

Eggplant Chips

  • 2 eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder

Place sliced eggplant in bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over eggplant. Marinate overnight, stirring occasionally to coat. Dehydrate at 145°F for 1 hour, reduce heat to 116°F and dehydrate until crisp, about 6-8 hours.

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