Late summer is my favorite time to cook because my ingredients are literally falling off the plants in my garden. Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, peppers, carrots, celery, okra, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers and eggplant. Heaven!
But after a few meals of raw veggies and dip or broccoli & cauliflower salad or BLTs, the family starts asking, “What are you going to do with veggies tonight?” That question comes often when eggplant is in-season.
Eggplant is one of those “vegetables” that are actually fruits. While it probably won’t ever be considered a super-food, it still has good levels of vitamins and nutrients, but does have high sodium and natural sugar content. It is probably one of the more peculiar fruits to work with. It’s rather spongy and can become mush if overcooked. But don’t shun this bounty of the garden. Here are Five Ways to Eat Eggplant.
1) Eggplant Parmesan is probably the most popular and recognizable eggplant dish. My cookbook bible is titled Betty Crocker. Here is the link to that recipe.
2) Eggplant French Fries is the perfect way to trick the kids into eating their veggies, sorry fruit! I’m not claiming this as an original recipe. I found it online years ago and have since lost the instructions. But it is so simple, I’ve got them memorized.
Slice peeled eggplant in french fry fashion. Coat with egg, roll in bread crumbs and seasonings. I have a jar of Italian seasonings that I shake in. Bake in the oven, top rack, 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Watch carefully and turn halfway. Serve with marinara sauce.
3) Eggplant Roll-ups crossed my newsfeed last week. I haven’t tried this yet, but they look de-lish and will be gracing our dinner table this week for sure.
Take standard pizza dough (I make some in the bread machine). Slather with tomato sauce, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, whatever. (Because of too many tomatoes, I make sauce and sneak in zucchini or squash. Double the veggies and the kids don’t know!) Thinly slice peeled eggplant and layer on sauce. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, onions and mozzarella. Bake.
Thanks to my mom, here’s another version of eggplant pizza, except this time, the eggplant is your “crust”.
5) Grilled eggplant is another gem from my mother. She could so easily do her own blog titled Garden Goodies and How to Eat Them.
Grilled eggplant doesn’t even require peeling. Slice at a 1/2″ thickness. Brush on olive oil and sprinkle both sides with Parmesan cheese. Grill on each side until each is criss-crossed by those great black grill lines. Watch closely, though. This is one of those instances where eggplant mush could quickly become reality.
NOTE: I’ve always read that before cooking sprinkle slice eggplant with salt, set in a colander over a plate and let sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse and continue. I never did this until this season and found that the salt takes some of the extra moisture out of the eggplant, leading to less mush. Win!
Let’s grow this list of five! Share your favorite eggplant recipe in the comments section.