Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals: #35 Making the Most of the Bounty of Eggplant




Sorry, I missed last week but I was busy cooking and canning and preparing to hit the road again.

This summer I planted a variety of eggplant that I had not seen, let alone grown, before.

It’s called Kazahstan.  It can be green and mottled.  It may have a bit of a purple tint to the green.  Or it could show up in an array of multi-colored hues.  So it’s pretty.  It also gives up lovely fruit that weigh-in at about 5-7 ounces a piece.  No need to figure out what you are going to do with a monster that needs to stuffed.  You betcha this is going into next year’s garden.

I used it two ways this season.  The thing about eggplant is it’s an awful lot like tomatoes.  It will keep you waiting and then you get flooded with them.  Both of these eggplant dishes should become staples for you.  They are fast and delicious.  Neither of these applications requires salting the eggplant and your dish will be sweet and reminiscent of the fruit that eggplant is, not the least bit bitter.

Baba Ghanoush (Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip)


Ingredients

1-1/2 lbs of eggplant
2 cloves garlic
1 t. salt
¼ c tahini
¼ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice eggplants in half, along the length of the fruit and place flesh side down on a foil lined pan (I like to use the non-stick foil).  Broil on high until the skin is black and crisp.
Scoop the flesh out of the skin and cool in a bowl for a few hours.  Drain off any liquid that accumulates in the bowl.

Using your high powered blender, I’ve got a Vitamix, or a food processor, add garlic, eggplant, salt, and tahini.  Blend until smooth.  While machine is running, add lemon juice.

This is perfect as a spread in sandwiches, with pita and olives, or thinned with a bit of lemon juice and used as a salad dressing.

Roasted Eggplant with Chickpeas and Feta (Martha Does It Again, from Everyday Food with a tiny change)

Ingredients

3 lbs of eggplant, cubed
4 oz. of feta, rinsed, patted dry, and crumbled
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 T. EVOO, divided
¼  c. minced fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place cubed eggplant in a bowl and toss with 3 T of EVOO, salt, and pepper.   Divide the eggplant between two rimmed baking sheets (yep, I line them again with non-stick foil).  Roast for 15 to 25 minutes rotating the baking sheets, between the oven racks, halfway through the cooking time.


While the eggplant is roasting, whisk the remaining 2 T EVOO with the lemon juice.  Once the eggplant is done, it will be charred and sweet, place it in a bowl.  Add the chickpeas, feta, and basil.  Pour the dressing you made over everything and toss.  Taste and adjust seasoning and Serve.



This dish is wonderful warm, at room temperature, or the next day cold.

2 comments:

  1. 2 questions: first, did the eggplant need a head start in spring to get a longer growing season? Second, it's 1/4 c. chopped basil in the 2nd recipe, right?

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  2. Nice catch. I did make the correction on the Roasted Eggplant recipe. It is 1/4 c. chopped basil.

    Yes. Normally, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and melons should be good to go by May 15th in our hardiness zone, but this year we had so many sub-60 degree nights in May that I waited until the latter part of June before putting out my tender transplants. These are real heat and sun lovers, just like me.

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