For Immediate Release
August 12, 2013
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 minature sized eggplant 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 inbetween. Eggplants are also known to occassionally 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 twelfth century. They got their English name from their egg-shaped 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, eggplant are a delicious vegetable for cooking. Eggplant are in the Solanaceae family like their cousins the tomato, pepper, and potatoes. Like potatoes, eggplant are usually cooked instead of being eaten raw.
The following recipes from the 2012 PennsylvaniaVegetable Recipe Contest offer delightful options for including eggplant in your menus.
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.
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
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 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
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 pinenuts (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 pinenuts. 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
1 large eggplant
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
Quick Buying Tips for Pennsylvania Eggplant
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program offers these tips when buying fresh eggplant:
- Select medium-sized eggplant that are heavy for their size.
- Look for eggplant that are firm and uniform in color without scars or bruises.
- Eggplant are best stored at 50 degrees but may be refrigerated for a few days.