Iron Chef Challenge - Eggplant
My husband's office is having an Iron Chef competition and the theme ingredient is eggplant. Other then usual suspects (i.e., ratatouille, eggplant parm, stuffed eggplant) I'm drawing a blank on something creative and delicious. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.
Thanks again for all the suggestions. We decided to make the Caponata Crostini (from Food & Wine) - posted by Gio. Considered the recipe Beyondthepeel posted, but thought it may be too challenging for the hubbie. I currently can't cook/be on my feet due to pregnancy bed rest, but as soon as I can I will definitely try this recipe.
The Caponata Crostini came out amazing and it will be easy for him to serve room temp.
This is probably cheating, but there is an Iron Chef America Battle Eggplant on Youtube. What I remember as being very clever -- someone took those tiny Thai green eggplants, hollowed them out from the bottom leaving the stems intact, then stuffed them with something as if they were poppers. I think you can be quite creative with the filling so it would not be a copycat recipe.
Did an eggplant dinner last fall, I'd found a bunch of beautiful eggplants at a farmer's field stall, bought a box (box of 24 for $11 or something ridiculously cheap) Invited some friends for dinner with the understanding that they'd be supplied with as many eggplants as needed to make what ever eggplant dish they wanted to bring to dinner. Lots of good stuff showed up, generally the traditional dishes. The one that unfortunately didn't make it, but deserves some prize for imagination, was the eggplant ice cream --Perhaps you could give that a try.
I recently tried making an eggplant dish from Cafe Paradiso Season (won best vegetarian cookbook in the WORLD) and it was incredible. My husband hates eggplant and he really enjoyed it.
Wash and cut off the top and the bottom of the eggplant. Cut off 2 opposites sides of the eggplant. The end pieces are all skin and we won't be using them so feel free to compost them. Slice 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices, you should get about 4 slices, 5 if it's a big eggplant. Brush with olive oil (I used chipotle oil to make it taste as good as possible) or herb oil (about 2 tsp) and bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Mine cooked in a 400 F degree oven for 35 minutes.
5 oz of spinach
2 Tbsp of toasted pine nuts
Salt and Pepper
and 2 oz of grated aged Gouda
I bought a package of pre-washed organic spinach from the store and used 1/2 of an 11 oz container if that helps. Plunge the spinach into boiling water for one minute. Remove the spinach and drain well to remove any excess water. Chop the toasted pine nuts and mix into the spinach and flavor with salt and pepper. Original recipe used a couple chopped sun dried tomatoes in the filling as well but I didn't have any on hand. The Gouda will be added at the end.
2 tsp capers
2 tsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
Cut a cross or an X into the bottom of each tomato. Plunge into the boiling water for a couple of seconds and rinse under cold water. The skin should peel off easily. Peel and seed the tomato. Dice the remaining flesh and put everything into a frying pan. Cook over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Split your pile of spinach and nut mixture into equal piles, one for every strip of eggplant. Spread a thin layer of spinach mixture then top with grated Gouda.
Roll them up into tight little rolls and bake until just hot. When the cheese just leaves it's solid state and is about to transition to its melted state, catch it right there. About 10 minutes in a 350 F oven.
I've rolled mine cannelloni style but for simplicity of a group, leave the eggplant flat and make a stack, like lasagna. Sorry if the directions are super clear, I have all the how to photos on my site. Hope that helps.
Cafe Paradiso-Brilliant. Best cookbook I own and I'm not vegetarian!
Thinly slice eggplant, and I mean thin, lengthwise. Dredge in four, then egg, then breadcrumbs, and fry until done. Place a small mound of homemade pasta and duxelles, and maybe a dollop of goat cheese, then roll it up. Top with a super-fresh tomato sauce and bake just to make sure everything is warm.
I've also made an eggplant soup that tastes like eggplant parm. That might be whimsical enough for the competition.
Caponata...A Sicilian sweet/savory dish.
Here's a Mario Batali recipe:
Here's another recipe that serves the caponata as a crostini, which I recommend. The eggplant does Not have to be salted and drained for an hour:
A Jamie Oliver recipe which I recently: made:
If your husband has a chance to test different recipes of Any dish he's making I urge him to do so and choose the one he likes nest.
Good Luck to him...!
I've made this - http://kitchengrooves.blogspot.com/20... - and it is surprisingly good. Not the prettiest meal to look at, but heaven on the tastebuds.
I've also made lasagne with eggplant slices instead of lasagne sheets, and that was a huge hit too.
EDIT: Another I've had at a restaurant and loved (can't remember the name) was eggplant (skins and a bit of flesh) stuffed with ricotta, covered with tomato sauce and then good cheese and baked. Melanzane, i think it was. Really good.