Monday, October 26, 2009

The Joys of Aubergine.

We could get frost any night now, so yesterday being a nice mild day, we picked the last of our eggplants and hot peppers and, with the sun on our backs, enjoyed some gardening. The eggplants weren't growing anymore, but at this time of year they keep well on the vine, we'd already had lots and weren't in a hurry to harvest the rest.
Later, I set to to make one of my favourite recipes ~Eggplant Parmigiana ~ and ended up with enough for three dinners! We were given another eggplant recipe recently also: Scalloped Eggplant, which yields the most delicious and tender vegetable side dish you can imagine.
I thought it would be nice at this time of year to share these two recipes, so here they are.

Baked Aubergine
-Eggplant Parmigiana-

1kg/2lbs aubergines
olive oil
35g/1½oz/or one third of a cup finely grated parmesan cheese (we use Romano).
400g/14oz./2 cups mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated.
salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce:
60ml/4tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
450g/1lb tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped, with their juice
salt & freshly ground black pepper
a few leaves of fresh basil or parsley

1. To make the tomato sauce: First, peel the tomatoes. (Place in a large bowl, pour boiling water over them and allow to stand two minutes. Then the skins will come off). Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and cook over medium heat until it is translucent, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomatoes; (add some tomato paste to thicken if desired).. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil or parsley. Cook for 20-30 minutes. Purée if desired with hand-held blender or food processor.

2. Slice the eggplants lengthwise. Heat a tablespoonful of olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook the eggplant in batches over low to moderate heat with the pan covered, until they soften. As they brown lightly, turn once and cook on the other side. Remove from the pan, set aside, and repeat with remaining slices.

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/ gasmark 4. Take a wide shallow baking dish. Spread a layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish. Next, put in a layer of eggplant slices. Spoon on more tomato sauce, then add a layer of mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan.. Then a little more tomato sauce. Build up the layers until the ingredients are used up, ending with a covering of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. (Add some olives or sautéed mushrooms to the mix if desired).
Bake for about 45 minutes.

This recipe as originally given to us called for the eggplants to be sliced, coated in salt, and left for an hour. Then they were to be wiped with paper towel and coated in flour before cooking in the pan. We changed this because , a) the resulting dish was too salty for our taste, there being enough salt in the cheese; and b) we didn’t think the eggplant needed the flour coating. You may wish to experiment with these variations.


This recipe was given to us by Joan, who says ~ “This is one of my all-time favourites! Can be prepared early in the day.”


1 medium eggplant, or two small, to total at least 1½ lbs.
3 tbsp butter (or margarine).
3 tbsp flour.
1 medium onion, finely chopped.
3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
1 tsp salt.
1 tbsp brown sugar.
1 cup grated old cheddar cheese.
½ cup dry breadcrumbs.


1. First, make the tomato sauce as follows:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, blend in the flour, and stir over low heat to make a smooth paste.
- Add the onions and tomatoes, stirring into the butter mixture.
- Sprinkle with the salt and brown sugar, and continue cooking over low direct heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. (Take your time on this step to make it nice and smooth). Set aside.

3. Peel the eggplant and dice it into one-inch cubes.
- Cook in boiling water to cover for 10 minutes.
- Drain thoroughly in a colander and transfer to an 8 cup casserole; (buttered if desired).

4. Pour the tomato sauce all over the eggplant in the casserole. Combine the grated cheese and breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on top.

5. Bake at 350ºF until bubbly and brown; about 30 minutes.


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