(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.
Eggplant Po’Boys From My Father’s Daughter by Gwenyth Paltrow Serves 4
2 cups peanut or safflower oil, for frying 1 large or 2 small eggplant, peeled and sliced Coarse salt 1 soft baguette, cut in half lengthwise ½ cup Vegenaise (or favorite mayonnaise) 1 cup shredded romaine 2 very ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced The eggplant should be sweated first: slice into ½-inch-thick rounds, place them on paper towel-lined baking sheets, and scatter Maldon salt on both sides of each slice. Then place more paper towel on top and leave the slices to sweat. After 30 minutes, remove the paper towels, then rinse and dry eggplant slices and cut into cubes. Heat 1/2 –inch of peanut oil in a deep-fat fryer or large, heavy pot over high heat. Lightly dredge the eggplant slices in flour. Add floured eggplant slices in a single layer. Turn heat to medium and cook 1 ½ minutes on both sides. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat in batches as needed. Slather the cut sides of one baguette half with the Vegenaise or mayo. Evenly distribute the lettuce and tomatoes on the bottom half and then top with the eggplant. Sandwich with the top half of the baguette, cut into quarters, and serve to lucky friends.
Lentils with broiled eggplant From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi “A most delicious main course for any occasion, formal or casual. After the recipe appeared in the Guardian I received two anxious letters from readers who had experienced mini-explosions in their kitchen. Apparently – and I didn’t know it then – in some cases eggplants under the broiler can explode with a thunderous boom, the flesh spouting everywhere, rather than deflate gradually as the skin burs and breaks. I sincerely apologize to all who had this experience. So please make sure to pierce the eggplants!”
Serves 4 2 medium eggplants or 1 large 2 tbsp. top-quality red wine vinegar Salt and black pepper 1 cup small dark lentils, rinsed 3 small carrots 2 celery stalks 1 bay leaf 3 thyme sprigs ½ white onion 3 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra to finish 3 small or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 1/3 tsp brown sugar 1 tbsp. each roughly chopped parsley, cilantro, and dill 2 tbsp. crème fraiche (or natural yogurt, if you prefer)
To cook the eggplants on a gas stovetop, which is the most effective way, start by lining the area around the burners with foil to protect them. Put the eggplants directly on two moderate flames and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, turning frequently with metal tongs, until the flesh is soft and smoky and the skin is burnt all over. Keep an eye on them the whole time so they don’t catch fire. For an electric stove, pierce the eggplants with a sharp knife in a few places. Put them on a foil-lined tray and place directly under a hot broiler for 1 hour, turning them a few times. The eggplants need to deflate completely and their skin should burn and break.
Remove the eggplants from the heat. If you used an oven broiler, change the oven to its normal setting. Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Cut a slit down the center of the eggplants and scoop out the flesh into a colander, avoiding the black skin. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes and only then season with plenty of salt and pepper and ½ tablespoon of the vinegar.
While the eggplants are broiling, place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Cut one carrot and half a celery stalk into large chunks and throw them in. Add the bay leaf, thyme and onion, cover with plenty of water and bring them to a boil. Simmer on a low heat for up to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, skimming away the froth from the surface from time to time. Drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and onion and transfer the lentils to a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper; stir and set aside somewhere warm.
Cut the remaining carrot and celery into 3/8-inch dice and mix with the tomatoes, the remaining oil, the sugar and some salt. Spread in an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the carrot is tender but still firm.
Add the cooked vegetables to warm the lentils, followed by the chopped herbs and stir gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the lentils onto serving plates. Pile some eggplant in the center of each portion and top it with a dollop of crème fraiche or yogurt. Finish with a trickle of oil.
Eggplant Caponata From Root to Leaf by Steven Satterfield “Originally from Sicily, this complexly flavored side dish varies widely from region to region but always contains eggplant, vinegar, and some form of sweet. It’s my favorite way to showcase eggplant’s tender yet meaty texture and chameleon-like flavor. And I also love that it can be served at any temperature: cold as a relish, at room temperature, or warm as a side dish. Because it incorporates each of the five basic tastes on the tongue – bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and umami – this dish is best served with a simply prepared protein or as part of a vegetable plate.”
6 to 8 servings 6 cups ¾-inch diced eggplant (about 1 large or 3 small globe eggplants), skin on 3 teaspoons kosher salt ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 cup ¼-inch diced onion (about 1 medium) 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 cups ½-inch diced ripe tomatoes (about 2 medium), juices and seeds included ¼ cup golden raisins or currants 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 2 teaspoons honey ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Chiffonade of fresh parsley and mint leaves for garnish
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the eggplant in a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Transfer the eggplant to a wire rack over a pan or onto a layer of paper towels. After 30 minutes, transfer the drained eggplant back to the bowl and toss with ¼ cup olive oil. Spread the eggplant in a shallow roasting pan and cook until slightly caramelized but still intact, with a creamy, almost sticky texture on the inside, 30 to 45 minutes. (since some pieces will cook faster than others, try a random sampling across the pan.) Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes with ½ teaspoon salt until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the raisins, vinegar, honey, and black pepper, and stir to combine. Return to a simmer and cook 5 more minutes. Pour the sauce over the eggplant and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt as needed. Allow the caponata to cool and rest about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature, chilled, or reheated. Top with fresh parsley and mint.
Creamy Baked Noodles with Eggplant and Cheese From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman “Any (one or all) of the components – the eggplant stuffing, the béchamel, or cooking the noodles – can be done up to several hours in advance. Just cover well and refrigerate until needed, then assemble the dish cold; you’ll need to add 10 minutes or so to the baking time.”
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed 1 pound eggplant, peeled if you like and cut into 1-inch cubes Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 small red onion, chopped 1 tablespoon minced garlic ¼ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cloves Cayenne or hot red pepper flakes to taste 2 cups chopped tomato (canned are fine; use a little of their juice) 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter 8 ounces ziti, penne, elbows, or other cut pasta 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, preferably fresh 1 ½ cups milk 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Greek kefalotyri if you can find it
Put the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding a little more oil if necessary, until the eggplant is softened and browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Add more oil to thepan if needed to coat the bottom and return it to the heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the spice and cayenne, then the tomato. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Return the eggplant to the pan, taste and adjust the seasoning, then set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook the pasta until barely tender, not quite done enough to eat. Drain well; put the pasta in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of the bread crumbs. Set aside. Use 1 tablespoons of the melted butter to grease a large square baking pan or small casserole.
In a small saucepan or microwave, heat the milk until small bubbles appear. Reheat the remaining butter over medium-low in its saucepan. Add the flour to the melted butter and stir almost constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture turns golden, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly; cook, whisking until the mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir a couple of tablespoons of the hot sauce mixture into the beaten eggs, then a little more. Pour this mixture back into the sauce and stir. Add most of the Parmesan and stir again. Put half the pasta in the baking dish; cover with half the eggplant mixture. Cover with the remaining pasta, then the remaining eggplant and all the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and the remaining bread crumbs (another little grating of nutmeg here won’t hurt either). Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown. Let rest for a few minutes before cutting and serving.
Eggplant, Tomato, and Zucchini (or Squash) Gratin From Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
1 eggplant Sea salt 3 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the dish 1 large onion, sliced crosswise 3 plump garlic cloves, smashed with a knife 1 lb. tomatoes, peeled and quartered (I never peel my tomatoes) 3 tablespoons chopped parsley 2 teaspoons chopped oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano Freshly ground pepper 12 ounces zucchini (or squash), sliced on the diagonal about 1/3 inch thick 2 teaspoons tomato paste Finishing touches 1 large garlic clove Sea salt 2 tablespoons chopped basil 2 teaspoons chopped oregano, or a scant teaspoon dried 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Quarter the eggplant lengthwise, then cut each quarter crosswise into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Unless the eggplant is very fresh, salt the slices lightly and set aside while you prepare the other vegetables, then blot dry.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil an 8 by 10-inch or 10-inch oval gratin dish.
Heat the oil in a wide skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan, turn the heat to high, and when the vegetables begin to sizzle, turn the heat to low. Lay the zucchini over the top of the vegetables, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. By this time, the vegetables should be soft. Using a slotted spoon, turn them into the prepared gratin dish. Stir the tomato paste into the liquid remaining in the skillet, then pour the liquid over the vegetables.
To finish the gratin, pound the garlic with a few pinches of salt in a mortar until smooth. Add the basil, oregano, and oil and work together, forming a paste. Spoon the paste over the vegetables and then intersperse the cheese among them. Cover the surface with the bread crumbs. Bake until the bread crumbs have browned and the vegetables are hot and bubbling, about 35 minutes. Let the gratin settle for 10 or 15 minutes before serving.