Thoroughly Yummy Thursday – two eggplant recipes

Two very different recipes for eggplant are offered for you.  It is high summer and things like squash, tomatoes, beans, eggplant are coming in fast and furious.

For the Japanese sautéed eggplant – 茄子 Nasu, you can use regular eggplant.  Japanese eggplant I think has a less acidic taste and it just the right size to slice into “coins” dust with seasoned flour and fry or for stir frying.  I was given this recipe from an engineer from Osaka. It is tasty and a bit exotic and takes simple eggplant to another level.  Good side dish with chicken or pork or on its own.

For the homey and spicy Creole Eggplant recipe, regular eggplant is used.  You can use the Japanese eggplant but it will be skinnier and baking times adjusted.  This recipe utilizes fresh summer tomatoes and is an excellent vegetarian meal.  Leave off the cheese for vegan.  When I was doing a stint in Nawlins as a chef, one of the kitchen workers invited us all to his aunt’s home for Sunday Supper.  This was one of the dishes served. This is not one of those highly seasoned, luxurious recipes. It is earthy, basic and excellent with a good French bread slathered with butter, a glass of Southern style sweet tea, and a slice of buttermilk pie. (HINT) I do not always cook in the eggplant shell but add foil to the baking dish so I can remove the casserole, allow to cool, and then wrapping well and freezing. While eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers are cheap; this is a good use of end of summer bounty.

Eggplant #1
茄子 Nasu
5 Japanese eggplants (long and thin cut shortwise into “coins” about ½ inch thick or: 1 medium
regular eggplant diced into similar size pieces.)
1 – 3   cloves minced garlic – to taste
1   quarter sized slice fresh ginger (I use a fresh ginger that is grated and sold in a tube
produce section – about ¾ tsp. This way I always have fresh ginger on hand)
¼ c.    soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp.  mirin, more if you want it sweeter
2 tsp. sake
1 tsp.  sesame oil

Combine Soy sauce, mirin, minced garlic and ginger in a bowl. Slice the eggplant thinly. Toss eggplant into hot pan with small amount of vegetable oil and add the sauce mixture. Saute’ at a medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add a little water if necessary to keep the eggplant moist if needed. Garnish with finely cut green onion and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice or udon, or not!

eggplant - Japanese

Eggplant #2
Matant Livia’s Baked Eggplant
Eggplant – depends on size and how many you want to feed (One medium can serve 4 regular folk or two hungry ones)
The Creole Holy Trinity – onion, bell pepper, celery, chopped finely
Fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. Grated parmesan cheese
Few dashes of Tobasco
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 – 3 Chopped tomatoes Depending on size and taste preference. I use at least two. (fresh summer tomatoes are
always best for everything!)
1 – 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lee and Perron’s as they say)
Cooking spray

OPTIONAL: Seasoned or unseasoned bread crumbs are good tossed with a bit of butter/margarine and the parmesan cheese, sprinkled on top for last 15 minutes to get all toasty

Take an eggplant, wash well and pierce skin with fork all over. Cut the eggplant in half and spray with cooking spray. Place both halves, cut side down on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 until tender. Amount of time varies with size of the eggplant.

Remove from oven and carefully scoop out cooked eggplant and coarsely mash. Add to this the Holy Trinity, parsley, peeled and chopped tomato(s), parmesan cheese, some shakes of Worcestershire sauce, Tobasco, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let sit a few minutes and taste. Adjust seasonings to taste. Pile back into eggplant shells (or into a sprayed baking dish) and bake until warm and steamy. Add some grated parmesan cheese over top. NOT: Start with smaller amount of seasonings and add more to taste. Creole cooking frequently is “add this, some of that, splash of that.”  Use your taste buds.

creole eggplant

 

Matant Livia’s Baked Eggplant

Creole and Cajun foods are sooooo good.  Different, but kinda sorta similar.  I spent a year in Nawlins..New Orleans to those who don’t know what Nawlins is.  I visited various parishes as well.  I collected many wonderful recipes and how-to’s while there.  All of them are “Take this, do that, add this….”  Most of them begin with “First you make a roux.”   If you are an inexperienced cook and not sure about amounts or methods, you’d best leave Cajun and Creole food alone.  I would suggest though, you learn how to cook without a recipe.   Make it individual, make it with joy, and like all good Southern food, make it with lots of love!

Eggplant – depends on size and how many you want to feed
The Holy Trinity – onion, bell pepper, celery, chopped finely
Fresh parsley, chopped
Grated parmesan cheese
Chopped tomato (fresh summer tomatoes are alway best for everything!)
Worcestershire sauce (Lee and Perron’s as they say)
Cooking spray 
OPTIONAL:  Seasoned or unseasoned bread crumbs are good tossed with a bit of butter/margarine and the parmesan cheese, sprinkled on top for last 15 minutes to get all toasty

Take an eggplant, wash well and pierce skin with fork all over.  Cut the eggplant in half and spray with cooking spray.  Place both halves, cut side down on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 until tender.  Amount of time varies with size of the eggplant.

Remove from oven and carefully scoop out cooked eggplant and coarsely mash.  Add to this the Holy Trinity, parsley, peeled and chopped tomato(s), parmesan cheese, some shakes of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Let sit a few minutes and taste.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Pile back into eggplant shells (or into a sprayed baking dish) and bake until warm and steamy.  Add some good shakes of parmesan cheese over top.

This is not one of those highly seasoned, luxurious recipes.  It is earthy, basic and excellent with a good French bread slathered with butter, a glass of Southern style sweet tea, and a slice of buttermilk pie (recipe coming soon!).

(HINT) I add foil to the baking dish so I can remove the casserole, allow to cool, and then wrapping well and freezing.  While eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers are cheap; this is a good use of end of summer bounty.

CAPONATA

Caponata 

¼ c light olive oil
2 cups onions, large diced
2 cups celery, large diced
3 sprigs thyme
1 whole eggplant, cut into ½ – 1 inch squares  (or two medium)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup green olives, sliced (or mix of kalamata and green)
1 cup pine nuts  (optional)
1/2 c. capers
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
10 basil leaves, chopped
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. tomato paste
 
Heat light olive oil in a sauté pan, over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and thyme and cook until caramelized.   Turn heat to high, and add eggplant, salt and pepper, and let it wilt.
Turn the heat back to medium, and add olives, optional pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil.
Let everything caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add brown sugar and one cup of vinegar.
Add basil to the pan, and let the vinegar reduce.  Mix the half-cup of vinegar with tomato paste.
Add the tomato paste and vinegar mixture, and let cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
 
****Enjoy this warm as a side dish or cold/room temperature as a salad or dip with baguettes, crackers, etc.
 

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