Kurt Sprirdakis exploring his Greek Roots in the cookbook One Table. Serves 4
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 garlic clove, minced – this can be left out
2 tsb dried oregano
1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
ground black pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 F
Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and garlic, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and beginning to get tender. Season with ½ tsb salt and 1 tsb of the oregano.
Pour into an 8 by 8 inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Cover with the tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste and the remaining oregano. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the feta begins to melt.
La Cuisine Provencale by Louis Ginies – serves 6 or 8.
Ratatouille Nicoise has become internationally famous but, in the rest of Provence, the Bohemienne – using equal amounts of eggplants and tomatoes is preferred.
3 large eggplants, enough to make 3 pounds, peeled and cut into small pieces
9 madium-sized tomatoes, about 3 pounds, peeled, seeded if you like, and cut into small pieces
½ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 anchovy fillets – OPTIONAL – but they add a lot to thr finished dish
1 tbsp. flour
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup bread crumbs – my take is if you don’t have home made… don’t use
salt and pepper
Heat 4 tbsp. of the oil in a large sauté pan, add the eggplant, tomatoes and garlic and cook uncovered over medium heat until the mixture has softened and can be crushed with a fork.
Meanwhile, soften the anchovy fillets in 3 tablespoons of the oil, in a small saucepan standing in boiling water or set over very low heat. When the fillets have melted in the oil, add them to the vegetables. Season with the salt and pepper, remembering anchovies are very salty.
Mix everything together well and turn into an oiled gratin dish. Sprinkle on the bread crumbs and the remaining oil.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 20 to 30 minutes, until a crust has formed on top.
MELANZANE alla PARMIGIANA – Mario Batali
2 to 4 servings
Although this recipe is a bit long, it’s well worth it. Use your favorite tomato sauce or Mario’s, which follows. I would not recommend jarred sauce for this or anything else. Baking the eggplant makes this dish more simple, lighter and tastier.
¼ cup olive oil
2 large eggplants, about a pound or 1 pound of smaller ones
Salt and pepper
3 cups of tomato sauce
1 bunch of basil, leaves removed and cut into strips (chiffonade)
1 pound of fresh mozzarella cut into ¼ inch thick slices (you need 12 slices)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup light toasted breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 450 F. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil
Cut 12 slices of eggplant and season each disk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until deep brown on top. Transfer to a large plate or a platter and let cool. Lower oven temperature to 350 F.
Arrange the 4 largest eggplant disks in a 9 by 12 inch baking pan, spacing them evenly.
Spread ¼ cup of the tomato sauce over each disk, and sprinkle each with a teaspoon of basil and Parmigiano, to make 4 medallions. Top with 4 more slices of eggplant and repeat the layering with the cheese, tomato sauce, basil, then repeat again, using all the remaining basil and Parmigiano. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.
Bake uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and tops are lightly browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Few foods can lay claim to causing insanity, acting as an aphrodisiac, and serving as a dental cosmetic. Eggplant, Japanese or the common round ones can. It is a fruit, not a vegetable. Technically it is a berry and a member of the nightshade family. First cultivated In India, it made it’s way to China and then into the Middle East. It was in Spain be the eighth century, having be introduced by the Moors. Eggplant is commonly associated with foods of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Fried eggplant is distinctly American and appears in Southern cookbooks as early as 1824.
FANCY GRILLED JAPANESE EGGPLANT
Bobby Flay – serves 2
4 Japanese eggplants
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
3 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Place eggplants in a baking dish
Mix in a small bowl, soy, dry sherry and garlic
Marinate 1 hour
Preheat your grill
Season with salt and pepper
Grill each side for 3 minutes
Top with sesame seeds
SIMPLE GRILLED JAPANESE EGGPLANT
Salsa if desired
Prepare a fire or light your gas grill
Cut the eggplants in half lenghtwise
Brush with olive oil and add a good bit of salt and pepper
Place on your medium hot grill and cook till browned and soft
3 minutes or so on each side
NOTE : The same preparation applies to round eggplants too. Small ones can be cut in half and larger ones sliced into 1 inch pieces.
GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH PESTO
Your favorite pesto
Use the same recipe as above. When cooked. Slice groves lengthwise in the eggplant and stuff with room temperature pesto
JAPANESE EGGPLANTS WITH GARLIC AND BASIL
serves 4 to 6
4 or 6 Japanese eggplants cut in ¼ inch slices – discard the bottom piece with the skin if you desire
Rock or Kosher salt
3 or 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, or to taste
½ cup of chopped basil leaves
White wine vinegar or red wine if preferred
Sprinkle eggplants with salt and place on towels
Let sit of 1 hour
In a small amount of olive oil, quickly fry eggplant until browned.
Drain the oil off if needed
Place a layer into a casserole and sprinkle with the garlic, basil and vinegar.
Repeat until all the eggplant is used.
Serve warm, cold or at room temerature
The Basics by Rosso and Lukins – serves 6 to 8
There will be eggplants in your boxes soon.
2 pounds of small eggplants, halved lengthwise
2 pounds yellow summer squash(about 5) trimmed and cut lengthwise
Prepare hot coals
Place squash and eggplants in two bowls and divide the marinade between them. Toss well. Arrange eggplant halves and squash slices on the grill and cook over medium heat, turning once until fork-tenter. NOTE : The eggplant can go on first since it takes 15 or more minutes, compared to about 12 minutes or so for the squash.
Marinade – whisk oil and juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk till smooth.
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon jucie
¼ cup chopped scallions or onions
¼ cup minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste – OPTIONAL – 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds