2013-08-15 / Local & State

Try These Eggplant Recipes

Eggplants come in various shapes, sizes and colors. The deep purple color that is synonymous with eggplant is the most popular color, but white, light- violet and stripped varieties are also available. There are miniature sized eggplants and ones that can make a meal for several people. Most are a teardrop shape but they range from a long, slender teardrop to an almost round ball with all variations in between. Eggplants are also known to occasionally have noses or be otherwise misshapen.

According to the “Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition” (S. Margen and others, Univ. of California at Berkley), eggplants are natives of India that were introduced into Spain in the 12th century. They got their English name from their eggshaped fruits that were probably white. Europeans at first were leary of eating the eggplant fruit, suspecting them of causing madness, leperosy, cancer and bad breath, and consequently used them primarily as a decorative plant. By the eighteenth century the Italians and French had adopted them as a food crop.

As the Italians and French discovered, eggplants are a delicious vegetable for cooking. Eggplants are in the Solanaceae family like their cousins the tomato, pepper, and potatoes. Like potatoes, eggplants are usually cooked instead of being eaten raw.

The following recipes from the 2012 Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest offer delightful options for including eggplant in your menus.

Brazilian Eggplant

Serves 6

3 eggplants cut in thin rounds ½ inch thick

3 tablespoons garlic salt

3 cups whole wheat flour

Season rounds in garlic salt for 1 to 2 minutes. In a bowl, place the whole wheat flour and coat the rounds in flour. Using a sprayed cookie sheet, place the rounds in a single layer and bake at 450 degrees F, turning the rounds until both sides are golden brown.

Sauce:

1 14-ounce can of heart of palm

1/3 cup rice milk

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1/2 onion - diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups spaghetti sauce of choice

Basil leaves

Mix first four ingredients in a saucepan and boil until mixture thickens. Transfer to blender and blend adding olive oil. Placing eggplant rounds on a serving dish, coat with a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce then on top a teaspoon of heart of palm

sauce. Garnish with basil
leaves.
Submitted by
Elen Wennell, Mechanicsburg
Eggplant with Spicy
Sesame Sauce
2 pounds eggplant
1/4 cup soy (light or dark)
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons dry sherry
wine
2 tablespoons tahini
(sesame paste)
2 tablespoons rice wine
vinegar
3 tablespoons minced
scallions (white part, reserve
green tops)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh
minced garlic (about 3 large
cloves)
1 tablespoon fresh
minced ginger
2 teaspoon chili paste
with garlic (available at
Asian markets)
2 tablespoons sesame
seeds
Peel eggplant. Slice into
3/4-inch slices and then cut
out pinkie-finger-size pieces.
Either steam them or put in
batches of single layer in microwave on high for 4 1/2
minutes. Place all other ingredients except sesame
seeds and scallion tops in a
bowl and whisk together.
Place eggplant fingers in a
single layer on a serving platter. Drizzle sauce over all.
Toast the sesame seed.
Sprinkle minced scallion tops
and sesame seeds over all.
Submitted by
Marilyn Goldfarb, Boalsburg
Sicilian Capanata
Serves 5 to 6
1 medium eggplant –
diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion - diced
1 rib celery – diced
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons tomato
paste
2 tablespoons water
4 green olives – chopped
1 teaspoon pine nuts (optional) 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon wine vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and dice eggplant
and then fry in olive oil until
slightly firm. Set eggplant
aside. Lightly brown onion
and celery in remaining oil.
In a 4- to 6-quart pot, dissolve tomato paste with the
water. Now add eggplant,
onion, and celery to pot.
Add capers, olives and the
pine nuts. Dissolve sugar in
vinegar and pour into the
pot mixture. Add salt and
pepper and simmer 15 to 20
minutes, stirring frequently
Eggplant and celery should
be on the soft side.
Submitted by
Anthony T. Greco,
Saylorsburg
Italian Eggplant Rolls
Serves 4
1 large eggplant
flour
baking spray

salt and pepper

3/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup spaghetti sauce pinch of dried oregano

4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese

Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices - do not pare slices. Use the 4 largest slices and reserve rest for another use. Coat slices lightly with flour. Spray one side of each slice with baking spray. Place sprayed side down, in a large, hot oven-proof skillet and cook over medium-high heat until lightly brown. Spray remaining surfaces and turn slices over. Cook until eggplant is flexible but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper. To make filling, stir together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, basil and garlic powder. Set oven at 400 degrees F. Divide filling and place mounds at wide end of eggplant slices. Roll like a jelly roll. Stand rolls in greased skillet with last edges underneath. Spoon spaghetti sauce over top the rolls. Sprinkle each with a bit of dried oregano. Bake 20 minutes. Place a cheese slice over top of each roll and return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes - just until cheese melts.

Submitted by

Frances Dietz, York

The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program offers these tips when buying fresh eggplant:

Select medium- sized eggplants that are heavy for their size.

Look for eggplants that are firm and uniform in color without scars or bruises.

Eggplants are best stored at 50 degrees but may be refrigerated for a few days.

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