I find eggplant to often be an unappreciated and ignored vegetable, so today I wanted to share some lovely recipes and uses for this tasty veggie.
Something I really found interesting was how many people I talked to whom have never tried eggplant were actually scared away of trying it because of how it looks! I can understand that when you give it a curious squeeze in the grocery store it's leathery feel, strange shape and dark color can through you off, but do not be deceived! This is a delicious and healthy food, with lots of uses in meals.
First a few food facts: Many millions of acres across the world are dedicated to growing these dark vegetables, china being the largest producer. Health wise, Eggplant can block free radicals from forming in the body, help control cholesterol levels and contains folic acid and potassium.
My favorite way to prepare it is to slice it into quarter inch long round slices, and then place those into a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil, frying on each side until soft and slighty brown. Then place on paper towels to absorb the extra oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
For a healthier alternative, brush eggplant slices with olive oil and then bake for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
You can throw these slices into any pasta dish, they are delicious additives to salad, cooked on top of pizza, and can even be put into sandwiches. Breading eggplant and then frying it is another option, if you prefer the taste. Now let me share with you one of my favorite eggplant pasta dishes:
EGGPLANT PASTA (serves 4-5 people)
- 2-3 small baby eggplants
- 2 large cans of whole peeled plum tomatoes (with basil)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- plenty of olive oil (for frying)
- pasta of choice
1.) Fry eggplant, as instructed above, set aside.
2.) Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in large pan, saute garlic, then add tomato cans (cut up tomatoes into edible pieces with spatula) bring to boil, lower and simmer for about 20-25 mins.
3.) Meanwhile, cook chosen pasta (I personally prefer penne rigate)
4.) Add cooked eggplant to sauce, plus parmesan cheese, let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
5.) salt and pepper to taste, put pasta in large serving tray, pour sauce on top, serve.
Now this recipe is one my whole family loves, and we always have seconds. It's a delicious, relatively easy to prepare, and a really nice and warm comforting food.
And finally HERE is a good little website with a bunch of other Eggplant recipes to try, so you can find your favorite way to enjoy this fantastic veggie. Enjoy~
****picture copyright Mariessa D 2008