(Marinated Eggplant) Melanzane Marinate From The Art of Fine Italian Cooking by Giuliano Bugialli Serves 6 to 8
“Eggplant slices, fried, marinated in olive oil, wine vinegar, basil, garlic, salt and pepper, and then served cold. The dish may be served in the evening if prepared in the morning, but it is better if it marinates for at least a day. Best for an antipasto course at the table or for a buffet.”
2 large or 4 medium-sized eggplants Coarse salt 1 cup fresh basil leaves 2 large garlic cloves Vegetable oil for deep frying Salt and freshly ground pepper ½ cup very good quality wine vinegar
Slice the eggplants vertically into ½-inch slices; do not peel. Place the slices on a large plate, sprinkle liberally with coarse salt, and let stand for 1 hour. (The eggplant will shed some dark liquid). Chop the basil leaves and place in a small bowl. Chop the garlic fine and add to the chopped basil. Mix very well with a wooden spoon. Dry the eggplant slices with paper towels, and deep-fry them in a large quantity of vegetable oil, until golden brown all over. After all the slices are fried, do not drain off the oil on absorbent paper as usual; you will layer the undrained slices in a serving dish. Put down a layer of eggplant; cover with chopped basil and garlic, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put down another layer of eggplant; cover with more basil and garlic, then salt and pepper. Repeat until all the eggplant slices are in the serving dish. Pour in the wine vinegar, let cool, and then place in refrigerator, covered with aluminum foil. After 1 hour, gently turn the eggplant slices over. Return to the refrigerator, still covered, for at least 3 hours more. (The dish is even better when made a day in advance). Notes from Terry Corrao, who I am eternally grateful to for sharing this recipe with me: A) I slice the eggplant into smaller pieces, usually 1"x2", skin on. B) when the eggplant is being salted, I put the pieces in a colander and weight it down with a heavy pot (this makes a big difference.) C) after frying each batch, I dress each layer immediately with red wine vinegar, torn basil and very thin slices of garlic. D) serve with thin slices of baguette.
Eggplant and Arugula Sandwiches From My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl Makes 2 sandwiches
2 large or 4 small eggplant 2 ficelles (thinner version of a baguette) 1 bag of arugula 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt Pepper Unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice eggplant lengthwise into strips and lay the strips side by side on an oiled baking sheet. Mix equal parts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a shallow dish. Brush the oil mixture across the top of each slice of eggplant. Sprinkle them very lightly with sea salt, grind some pepper over the top, and put them in the hot oven for about 10 minutes. Turn them over, brush them with the vinegar and oil mixture, and roast the other sides for another 8 minutes or so. Cool. Cut the ficelles in half and spread them generously with unsalted butter. (if you can’t find ficelles, use baguettes, but cut each lengthwise into two skinnier loaves; the proportion of bread to filling is important in this sandwich.) Lay the eggplant slices on the bread and top with arugula leaves. The charm of this sandwich is the simplicity of the way the flavors marry; the peppery arugula underlines the slight bitterness of the eggplant and the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar sets it off. Eggplant is usually the chameleon of the vegetable kingdom, so accommodating that it often disappears. Here it finally has a chance to star.
Eggplant and Three Cheese Calzone From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium eggplant, sliced ¼ to ½ inch thick Salt Freshly ground black pepper One 3/4 –pound pizza dough, ready to go 1 cup ricotta 1 cup grated mozzarella 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan Dried oregano 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash A handful of snipped fresh basil leaves Quick sauce: 1 cup strained tomatoes ¼ teaspoon table salt 1 garlic clove Red pepper flakes Pinch of sugar (optional) Few drops of red wine vinegar (optional)
Prepare eggplant: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange the eggplant slices in one layer. Season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, flip, then roast for another 10 minutes. Let the eggplant cool slightly. Leave oven on. Assemble calzone: Roll the dough into a 12-inch round. Mix together ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, then season the cheese with ½ teaspoon table salt, a pinch of dried oregano (or more to taste), and freshly ground black pepper. Stir the eggplant into the cheese mixture, and then heap it down the center of the dough. Pull the sides of the dough over the center, pressing and crimping a seam down the middle. Brush the outside of the calzone with egg wash. Bake: Bake the calzone for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden all over. Make sauce: While the calzone bakes, heat the tomatoes, salt, garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a small saucepan until simmering. Gently simmer for 5 minutes, then taste for seasoning. For extra sweetness or punch, add a pinch of sugar or a few drops of red wine vinegar to taste and simmer for one minute more. Pour into a small dish. To serve: When calzone is finished baking, slide it onto a serving dish and slice into large sections. Garnish with snipped basil and serve with sauce on the side.