Nov 10 2010

What to Do with Eggplant?

Published by at 7:01 pm under Uncategorized

Eggplant Stack

This week my 22 year old  daughter, who is a great cook and lives in Boston, was looking for vegetable recipe ideas. She wanted something new and I suggested cooking an eggplant but she didn’t want to because ” Eggplant  takes so much time, you have to salt it and let it sit before you can do anything with it”.  Not true!

Eggplant has a spongy texture, created by the hundreds of tiny air pockets in the flesh. The spongy quality means slices of eggplant can soak up  lots of oil  a characteristic  that is not desirable in all recipes. Salting eggplant before cooking can draw moisture out of those spongy  cells, making it less absorptive, and even reduce bitterness, a trait in some older, large eggplants. Pre-cooking in the microwave or boiling (as in the recipe that follows) can be just as effective as salting.

Four Fast Recipes for  Eggplant

Eggplant Au Gratin

In a large pot add a diced  1 1/2 pound unpeeled eggplant and 2 sliced onions, add enough water to cover . Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and mix with 1 tbsp butter, 1 egg, 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs. Pour into a greased casserole and bake 350 degrees for thirty minutes. Serve warm

Eggplant Tomato Sauce

No salting needed for this dish either. Simply peel and chop an eggplant,  add it to a prepared tomato sauce or 32 ounce can of diced tomatoes  and cook for about 20 minutes until soft and tender. Serve on top of vegetables or pasta.

Roasted Eggplant for Meatloaf

You can also add roasted eggplant to your favorite meatloaf  . One of the nurses I work with  gave me this idea; add  eggplant  to a ground turkey meatloaf to make it really moist: roast a whole eggplant at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle scrape out the cooked eggplant, using your hands squeeze excess juice from the eggplant and add it to your favorite meatloaf recipe.

 Tomato Eggplant Stack this was a recipe I suggested as a summer appetizer but it really is good anytime of year.

Eggplant Tips:Eggplant contains fiber and potassium and very few calories. Look for eggplants that feel firm and heavy. Eggplant is not a good keeper,  keep refrigerated and use within three to four days of purchase, use cooked eggplant  within two to three days.

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