We have an abundance of eggplant in our garden right now and were trying to give some away. But most of our friends ask us what they are supposed to do with eggplant, which they apparently don’t usually purchase in the grocery store. So, for our friends, and others who might be offered bounty from a friend’s garden this time of year, here are some suggestions for what to do with that big, purple beauty.
The easiest thing to do with an eggplant is probably to peel it, cut it into smallish cubes, boil it with some salt until soft, and strain it. You could add your cooked eggplant to a stir fry, spaghetti sauce, casserole or soup….
About that peel. I like the peel, and I know our eggplants have no pesticide residue on them, so for my remaining suggestions, I don’t peel the eggplant, but you might prefer to peel yours. Just use a sharp knife. It’s a simple task.
My favorite thing to do is fry the eggplant. I slice the whole eggplant in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. When my kids were little and we were living in Vallejo, we dropped them off sometimes with Molly, whose Italian mother lived with her and had sewn costumes for Sly Stone, but that’s another story. Molly used to “sweat” her eggplant slices, by laying them out and sprinkling a little course sea salt over them. After about an hour the slices had “beads of sweat.” After that she would knock the salt off and blot the water with a kitchen towel. I have done the same thing ever since I learned that from her. It is the Italian way to prepare eggplant for frying.
Put the sliced eggplant in a bowl with a couple eggs and a little coconut milk. Then drop them in your favorite fry mix. The traditional Italian way would be a little flour and bread crumbs. I like to make a mixture of flour, bread crumbs, corn meal and a little parmesan cheese. Then fry your eggplant slices for a couple minutes on either side, until golden. You could just eat your fried eggplant right now.
Or you could lay them out on a cookie sheet, freeze them and then package them. You could take them out of the freezer and put them directly in the oven for an easy way to add a vegetable to your meal at a future date.
Or you could take your fresh or frozen fried eggplant slices and make an eggplant parmesan, or eggplant casserole. There are lots of recipes online for a traditional eggplant parmesan. My family tells me that I never make anything the same way twice. What follows is one of my hybrid eggplant dishes that is pretty quick to finish after the eggplant slices are fried.
Martha’s Hybrid Eggplant Parmesan
2 large eggplants, sliced and fried
3 pints of spaghetti sauce
3/4 cous cous
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
1 package uncured turkey bacon, cooked or
1 package ground turkey, browned and seasoned to taste
Pour the uncooked cous cous Into a 13″x16″ baking dish.
Pour one pint of tomato sauce in with the cous cous.
Put a layer of eggplant slices over the cous cous.
Spread 1 cup of the cheese over the eggplant.
Spread the bacon or the ground turkey evenly over the cheese.
Pour a pint of tomato sauce over the meat.
Spread the remaining slices of eggplant over the top.
Spread the remaining sauce over the eggplant and the remaining cheese over the sauce.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving or a couple hours before freezing.