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Eggplant

Eggplant is member of the nightshade family (which also

includes tomatoes and bell peppers) and originated in India.

The fruit - usually a deep glossy purple, but also available in

white, lavender and even orange - can be eaten fried, roasted,

in stews, and casseroles.   Eggplants are rich sources of dietary

fiber and are full of powerful anti-oxidents that protect the body

against dangerous free radicals.  They are low in fat and calories too.

 

 

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant

1 -1 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

2 -3 large eggs

2 tablespoons milk

marinara sauce

1 cup mozzarella cheese

 

Peel eggplant and cut into thin strips.  Beat eggs with milk and put in a shallow pan big enough to cover eggplant slices.  In another pan mix breadcrunbs and parmesan cheese.

 

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Dip eggplant slices in egg, then breacrunbs and then put in skillet, cook till golden brownthen flip and cook other side.

 

Add a little marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish and place eggplant slices on top.  Top with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.  Cover with foil and bake in 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until heated through.  Casserole can be made ahead of time and cooked when ready.

 

 

Southern Eggplant Casserole

1 small eggplant

1/2 lb bulk sausage

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 1/2 tablespoons italian seasoning

fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup butter cracker crumb

1 tablespoon butter

 

Peel eggplant, cut into 1" cubes and lightly salt to sweat the bitter taste out -about 15-20 minutes.  Cook in saucepan with water until tender -about 18 minutes; drain and cool slightly.

 

Cook sausage together with the onion until meat is browned and onion is soft.Combine eggplant and sausage; add egg and bread crumbs.

Spoon into prepared casserole dish.

 

Combine butter and cracker crumbs. Spread over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cracker crumbs are golden brown.

 

Variations:

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded before adding the cracker crumbles.

Mix in 1/2 cup Rotel Tomatoes, well drained.

 

 

Grilled Eggplant Burgers

1 large eggplant, sliced into 16 1/4-inch rounds

8 slices provolone cheese (thin slices) or 8 slices gouda cheese (thin slices) or 8 slices other cheese (thin slices)

2 thinly-sliced tomatoes or 4 large roasted red peppers

8 -16 leaves fresh basil

fresh ground pepper

 

   Seasoning Oil

   2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

   2 teaspoons wine vinegar or 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

   1 teaspoon dijon-style mustard

   sea salt

   freshly-ground pepper, to taste

 

Whisk all seasoning oil ingredients in a small bowl. Brush eggplant slices with seasoning oil and place over medium-high heat on grill. Close lid and cook until tender, turning and brushing with remaining seasoning oil, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from grill. (You may also cook eggplant under the broiler, or saute them in a pan until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes per side.)

 

Place a slice of cheese on 1 eggplant slice, then top with another eggplant slice. Top this with 2 tomato slices or a piece of roasted red pepper, then put 2 to 4 basil leaves on top of that. Top with third eggplant slice, then another slice of cheese. Top with a fourth eggplant slice. Finish with a grind of pepper.

 

Repeat process to make 4 stacks. Place stacks on grill, close lid, and cook for about 2 minutes, turning once.

 

Place on grilled ciabatta bread and serve immediately.

 

 

 

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