eggplants


IT’s potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  That means we can cook from any chef that the group has used in the past.  This month I chose Yotam Ottolenghi because I haven’t cooked with him very much.  He was the chef back in 2013.  At that time I didn’t have any of his cookbooks.  Now, however, is a different story.  I have PLENTY, on my Kindle, and I am really taking a good look at his recipes.

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I chose the Lemon and Eggplant Risotto because this eggplant was begging to be used and I was lusting after some good risotto.

This is not a quick dish to make so don’t start it when you start the rest of your meal.  Start it before.  There are several steps you have to take before you actually start the risotto.

  1. ‘Burn’ an eggplant and then scoop out the pulp.
  2. Dice an eggplant and brown it until it is crispy.
  3. Sautee some onion and garlic.

After the onion and garlic are done then you can add in the wine, rice, and start making the risotto.  But let me tell you, it is worth every step and every dirty pan in the sink.  The sweetness of the eggplant mixed with the tart of the lemon zest and the semi sweetness of the basil is very mouth satisfying.  VERY!!!

Since I don’t have the book I cannot give you a page number in PLENTY, but I found it on The Hungry Goddess.

Visit with IHCC to see what else is on the Potluck table this week.

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It’s time for another recipe from Curtis Stone  This week the IHCC theme is snacks or Something to eat on the Sofa..  I suppose anything can be a snack but when you look at a recipe and the beginning line is, “This is a great snack…”, it kinda solves a problem for you right off the bat.

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How about a sandwich made with slices of mozzarella and basil leaves between think slices of eggplant and then DEEP FRIED!!!  Curtis named these Deep-Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella with Basil.  Yeah, it is as good as it sounds.  And even better…

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…served with warm marinara sauce.  I think I am in heaven!  The melty cheese with the lovely flavor of basil.  YES!!!  YES!!!  YES!!! It was like having a mini pizza without the crust.  Well, if you like eggplant on your pizza which may now be a new thing in this house!

Make sure you slice your eggplant really thin.  Mine was a little thick so they began to limp-out on me after a few minutes.  They really would be better crispy.  But don’t skimp on the cheese.  You want all that melty flavory goodness.

I found this recipe in Curtis’ Cooking with Curtis  {page 49}and also on Take Home Chef.  

Check out more snacks on the I Heart Cooking Club 

 

Or the name you might be more familiar with – Eggplant Parmesan.

When we visit antique stores and flea markets the first thing I look for is cookbooks. I don’t NEED any more but they are so fun to look through and sometimes I find one that is ‘reasonable’ and has great pictures and recipes. I found one just like that in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. Elodia Regante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking . Inside were 150 or so recipes handed down through 4 generations. And each one with a story, picture, and family hints. The whole book is full of stories with the introduction telling the story of Elodia’s grandparents arrival in the U.S., meeting in Little Italy, having children, losing children, and celebrating holidays with family and food. And that is what is wonderful about this book – family recipes: authentic, unchanged for 100+ years except to adapt to American ingredients. I have so many recipes marked and ready to share.

This one caught my eye immediately because I have found/tried so many recipes that really aren’t ‘real’. This one was simple and delicious. I even made her Marinara sauce {1 hour, maybe 2} to go with it.

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    3 medium eggplants, peeled if the skin is tough
    6 eggs, beaten
    4 cups Italian bread crumbs
    Olive Oil
    8 cups Marinara sauce {you COULD use your own recipe}
    2 cups grated Romano cheese
    1 1/2 lbs Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

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Slice the eggplants about 1/4″ thick. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with more paper towels. Weight them down to drain as much liquid as possible. This may take up to an hour.
Dip slices in the eggs and then in the bread crumbs. Fry them until olden brown, drain, and cool. {You can also bake them.}
Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Layer with eggplant, then Mozzarella and Romano cheese. Cover with sauce. Repeat until your pan is just about full. You may get 4 – 5 layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until the Mozzarella melts.
Allow dish to sit for about 10 minutes to let the ingredients settle before slicing and serving. (serves 6)

Marinara Sauce Salsa al Pomodoro

    1/8 cup minced garlic
    3 Tbl olive oil
    5 lbs ripe tomatoes {I used some I canned this summer}
    1 cup red wine
    1 Tbl oregano
    1 Tbl basil
    1 tsp thyme
    1 pinch rosemary
    Salt and Pepper to taste

Sautee the garlic in a large saucepan until soft but not browned. Remove the pan from the heat.
In another pot boil some water and add the tomatoes just long enough to soften and slip the skins. Smash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Add the tomatoes, their juices, wine and some of the boiled water to the pot with the garlic. {If you used canned tomatoes you don’t have to do this, just add the contents to the pot with the garlic.}
Add the spices and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Two if you have the time. Stir periodically.
{Original recipe page 127}

This was delicious and one of the easiest recipes I have found for the Parmigiana. I made just 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two people.

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