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Eggplant recipes

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I have never made eggplant... i remember eating it once stir fried and thinking it was good... i saw them at the market and wanted to buy one...

looked up some recipes and wanted to know what's the best way to prepare eggplant... i don't think i want to do eggplant parmesean, not too big on breading things and all that...

any ideas? what's your favorite way to make eggplant?

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  1. I love eggplant. Not much flavor on it's own - acts like mushrooms, soaks all the other flavors it's cooked with. There's different kinds of eggplant too, American -large roundish dark purple, Japanese-long narrowish and much lighter in color, Italian-smaller than but, a deeper purple, and an indian eggplant that's small droplet like and also deep purple. Each culture has their own ways to prepare. Remember when it gets sliced, air causes it to quickly brown. One of my fav's and so flavorful: Squash garlic and onion then saute in EVOO- extra virgin olive oil. Once softened, add small cubed eggplant and saute w/a bit of chicken broth. Then add cubed zucchini and either sun dried tomatoes or fresh - I like the sundried in olive oil (adds xtra flavor), capers and a little more chicken broth. (While cooking veges, add EVOO as needed). Once all looks cooked/softened, add a splash of any of the following: white wine, marsala, sweet vermouth. Once the wine reduces, stir in a pat of butter then S and P. Wella, topping for pizza, pasta, chicken or mix into a risotto. Top w/ shaved fresh Asaigo. YUM! Another thing I like to do w/eggplant is to grill and have w/other grilled items or, after grilling and still warm, run under cold water and peal skin off. Then chop eggplant and add to your favorite hummus. Mix in a little tahini if too thick. Top w/ a little EVOO and sprinkle w/ a bit of paprika. Also very yummy and can be eaten w/vege sticks in a pita, on falafel or ? Have fun :) KQ

    1. I like eggplant a lot, but I also find it difficult to come up with new uses for it. Here are two that I really like:

      1. As a pasta sauce: mince two cloves of garlic, or more if you like. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks. Get some capers, soak if necessary. Have on hand one or two cans of good chopped tomatoes (I use the 400g cans, and usually use one, sometimes two).

      Heat a deep pot, add olive oil and garlic. Saute till the garlic begins to color, then add eggplant and some salt. Saute till the eggplant goes a bit soft and gets browned. It will soak up the oil and stick a bit, so a wood spatula is good for scraping the pot.

      Add the tomatoes, stir, add salt and pepper to taste. Add capers (a good handful). Cook till sauce and eggplant are desired consistency. I like to serve this with farfalle.

      2. As a side vegetable: This comes from "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. To paraphrase: turn oven to high. Cut eggplant into thick circles. Slash each one a couple of times. Make a mixture of chopped garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Rub this onto the eggplant, pressing it into the slashes. Lightly oil the bottoms of the circles. Put on a roasting tray and into the hot oven till they brown and get a little mushy, about half an hour or more.

      This recipe was a wonderful revelation for me. It's really delicious. And I should note that the "stuffing" for the eggplant is also wonderful when tucked under the leaves of an artichoke before braising.

      1. Eggplant is among my favorite vegetables...I think I love it best with tomatoes. Here's a perfect summertime recipe I got from a friend that can stand alone because the chickpeas serve as protein or you can put it over rice or it's even good as a veggie side dish:

        Tunisian Style Eggplant Casserole

        1 - 15 or 16 ounce can chickpeas, partially drained

        Olive oil

        1 medium to large size eggplant, cut into 2 inch cubes (you can peel it if you want to...I love the color of the skin so I leave it on)

        1 teaspoon paprika

        1 teaspoon ground cumin

        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

        1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

        2 medium onions, finely chopped

        5 or 6 small ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

        Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss eggplant cubes with about 2 Tablespoons olive oil and spread on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Roast in oven uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring once after the first 10 minutes. Remove from oven and put into a greased 8x8x2 inch baking dish or similar size and season with cumin, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne.

        In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in 1 or 2 Tablespoons olive oil until light brown. Spoon over seasoned eggplant cubes. Add a little pepper and salt and then layer over with chickpeas. Cover with chopped tomatoes, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. Serves 4 or 5 people.

        Epicurious also offers a Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant recipe that is superb.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Val

          I made the moroccan chicken last night -- it's really good but it needs some zip. I'm trying to figure out what will perk it up. It's quite lemony and the broth is very flavorful, I think it just needs some heat. I roasted the eggplant much longer than they said because I like it darkly caramelized. Thanks for pointing to this recipe. A good way to use up eggplant and all those spices in your cupboard.

          1. re: yumyum

            Many other reviewers (and I) just increase the spices...that might help you next time or you could try adding some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for heat. Glad you liked it!

        2. I love Asian-style eggplant salad, where you split baby eggplants lengthwise, score and grill them, then top with a spicy sesame dressing.

          1. I posted a favorite recipe a while back. If you're using the large eggplants instead of the slender Asian ones, peel and cut into cubes, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This will draw out the liquid which can be bitter.

            This is it:

            I make a spicy eggplant dish with Asian eggplants that is usually well liked. It's from Pacific Flavors by Carpenter and Sandison which I believe is out of print. My version of the recipe is as follows:

            1.5 lb eggplant
            2 ts dark soy
            1 medium onion, sliced
            8 cloves garlic, minced
            2 ts finely chopped ginger

            Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.

            Combine in a small bowl:
            1/4 cup dry sherry
            3 Tb oyster sauce
            1 Tb dark soy
            1 Tb sesame oil
            1/2 Tb Chinese chili sauce (I use sriracha)
            1 ts sugar.

            Stir fry eggplant in hot oil in wok, add soy sauce, sliced onion, ginger and garlic and fry until onion is transparent. Add all other ingredients, toss to coat well. Add enough water so eggplant cubes cover about 1/2 eggplant cubes. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook until most of the liquid is reduced. Taste for seasoning.

            This dish keeps well so I usually make it in large quantities. It's good warm or cold - makes a great picnic dish.

            1. Very simply, my family loves the "Eggplant Sandwiches" I make. Slice eggplant at least 1/2" thick and brush with olive oil, s&p and grill both sides. Add a slice of fontina/moz cheese and a nice slab of juicy tomato. Put in oven or under broiler for a minute to melt the cheese.

              1. Yeah, I like grilling too. Brush with oil, season, grill nice and dark, serve with a tomato-ey sauce like Mario's Basic Tomato which I make in largish batches and keep in the freezer. (Olive oil, onion, garlic, grated carrot, canned plum tomatoes, fresh thyme, simmer one-half hour--I semi-puree it with the stick blender at the end.)

                1. Baba ganouj! Roast, broil or grill a couple of eggplants. Peel, chop, drain in a colander. Smoosh the flesh in a bowl or food processor along with 4 or 5 tablespoons of tahini, the juice from 2 lemons, salt to taste and, optionally, 1 or 2 pressed garlic cloves and a dash of ground cumin. Serve drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with chopped parsley. Eat with pita.

                  Eggplant also makes an elegant silky soup (hat tip to Chez Panisse). Roast or grill a couple of eggplants. Peel and chop. Cook in olive oil with a chopped onion and a couple of minced garlic cloves until the onion is soft. Add chicken broth and a branch of fresh thyme. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Remove the thyme stems and purée the soup. Correct the seasoning. Serve as is or garnished with basil chiffonade and a drizzle of olive oil or with red pepper cream (heavy cream or crème fraîche adulterated with puréed grilled, peeled and seeded pepper).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: carswell

                    May I ask you about grilling or roasting an entire eggplant? Is it difficult to peel after grilling? How do you do it? I'm envisioning a softened, somewhat mushy eggplant that would not be easy to peel or does it just pull off with your fingers, similar to a roasted red pepper? Thanks!

                    1. re: Val

                      Not hard but not as easy as with peppers. Just as messy though.

                      Pierce the raw eggplant in a few places with a skewer so it doesn't explode and cook until its skin is blackened and even blistered and the flesh is squeezably soft. Peeling is best done with a sharp paring knife over a colander in a sink. Some of the skin will flake away but strings of flesh will stick to it in other places. Just hack away and don't worry if flecks of skin remain. They add character ;o).

                  2. My favorite way is any sort of grilled the eggplant. It gets deliciously smokey...

                    For Eggplant Stacks with Pesto, Feta, and Tomato: I first slice the eggplant into 1/2" rounds, salt, leave in a colander to drain for about 30 min, then press any remaining water out. Brush with pesto (thin pesto with olive oil), salt (go easy since it already has some salt from the first step), and pepper; and grill until tender. Assemble stacks on heavy duty foil (as they will go back on the grill): one slice eggplant, brushed with more pesto/olive oil, one slice heirloom/garden fresh tomato, sprinkle with feta. Repeat a couple times (I usually do three full layers). Then place back on grill, cover grill, and allow everything to heat/melt together for a couple 3-4 minutes.

                    1. No Eggplant Parm recipes?
                      It's work but here's a favorite recipe:

                      1) Slice thin (the long way) two medium eggplants. Place slices in colander and sprinkle with salt. Weigh down the slices and let the eggplant drain for an hour or so.
                      2) Meanwhile, make your favorite marinara recipe (okay, you can use jarred, but home-made is better). Grate about a pound of mozarella (you can use fresh but it will be more watery. I actually like the not fresh kind for this)
                      3) Rinse eggplant slices and dry thoroughly between sheets of paper towel.
                      4) Have ready about two cups seasoned flour, and 3-4 beaten eggs. Fill a large skillet with about and inch and a half of oil. Heat until oil shimmers.
                      5) Dip eggplant slices FIRST in flour, THEN in egg, and fry until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
                      6) Spread some sauce in bottom of baking dish. Set in a layer of fried eggplant. Top with several handfuls of grated mozarella and several tablespoons grated parmesan. You can even add ripped up basil leaves.
                      Top first layer with sauce. Add another layer of the cheeses. Top with second layer of fried eggplant. Top with remaining sauce, and more cheeses.
                      7) In preheated 350 degree oven, bake 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted (but not brown) and the sauce bubbles.
                      Rest 15 minutes or so before slicing. If you're feeling really decadent, serve with spaghetti!

                      1. This is how my mother prepares eggplant; she's third-generation Japanese-American, so I'm not sure how *traditional* the preparation is, but it's very simple and very tasty. She uses (homegrown) Japanese eggplant, which has a characteristic sweetness lacking in conventional/Italian eggplant. I'd advise against using Italian eggplant at all in this recipe, but if you must, try slicing the eggplant into 3/4 inch-thick rounds and salting them to allow the bitter juices run out- -as in other recipes here- - it won't be the same, though!

                        1.) Quarter eggplant (cut in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half crosswise). The slices should be about 3/4-1" thick.

                        2.) Brush with canola oil and broil, cut side up, until slightly browned and softened (but not mushy).

                        3.) In individual saucers/dipping dishes, pour a small amount of soy sauce. Add finely grated fresh ginger (and shiso, if you have it) to taste.

                        To eat, dunk individual pieces of the broiled eggplant in the soy sauce/ginger mixture.

                        1. I love it in moussaka, and if you first grill the eggplants and tomatoes before constructing, the smoky char takes it to a whole new level!

                          1. Another classic is eggplant with miso, slice the eggplant lengthwise (or into circles), mix up a slghtly thick miso sauce (I use white miso, sugar/mirin, red pepper, mabe some soy sauce), spread on the eggplant, roast at 350F, when eggplant is cooked slice some scallions and sprinkle sliced scallions and sesame seeds on top before serving.

                            1. One very simply recipe I grew up with is steamed eggplant. All you have to do is trim off the top and cut the eggplants (Chinese or Japanese variety) in half lengthwise. Place on a plate with cut side up and steam until tender. I'm not sure of the time since we usually steam it on top of the rice cooker. I'll say maybe check after 8-10 minutes or so. Use a small knife and pierce the top, when it's done, there should be no resistence at all. When done, either dressed with soy and sesame oil or put the sauce on the side for dipping. Steaming eggplant this way lets the flavor of the eggplant shine.