Exotic Eggplant Dishes

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Whether salads, dips, sides, or main courses, these eggplant dishes will always please your guests.

The solid, plump, firm-skinned eggplant is
one of the handsomest and tastiest vegetables available.
Ever since the Moors brought this purple fruit to the
Mediterranean region sometime during the Middle Ages, folks
in Italy and France (as well as people throughout the
Middle East) have been whipping up delicious eggplant
dishes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Eggplant Salad Supreme

Broil a good-sized, unpeeled eggplant under a low flame for
20 to 30 minutes, turning it often. When the vegetable is
soft, remove its skin (which will slip right off) and
mash the “meat” into a pulp. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of
salad oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Season the mixture to taste with salt, pepper, garlic
salt, and onion salt. Serve the finished dish cold on
lettuce leaves for a salad that’s just as delicious as it
is unusual.

Hearty Eggplant Parmingiana

Peel 1 large eggplant (or use 2 small ones) and cut the
fruit into 1/2-inch slices. Dip each piece in beaten egg
and then in flour, brown ’em in heated oil, and let the
cooked vegetable drain well on brown paper.

When that’s done, place a layer of eggplant in a deep
casserole and cover it with tomato sauce. (You’ll need
about 2 cups of tomato sauce in all, or you can use a No.
303 can of prepared meatless spaghetti sauce with
mushrooms.) Sprinkle the surface with Parmesan cheese and
“top-layer” it with thinly sliced mozzarella. Repeat this
sequence until all the eggplant is used, finishing off
with the mozzarella. Bake the parmigiana in a 400°F
oven for 15 minutes and serve it hot. This exceptionally
tasty treat will satisfy five or six hungry people.

Eggplant With Oysters

Here’s a special dish for “special company” which can
be served either as a vegetable or as the main course.

Halve a two-pound eggplant lengthwise and scoop out the
center, leaving a wall about 1/2 inch thick. Chop up the
scooped-out sections and saute ’em with 1/2 cup of
butter, 1/4 cup of minced onion, 1 clove of minced garlic,
and 2 tablespoons of minced celery until the onion is
golden brown.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 pint of drained and chopped
oysters, 1 cup of soft bread crumbs, 1 /4 cup of minced
parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Stir this
combination into the cooked ingredients. Spoon the mixture
into the eggplant shells, place ’em in a buttered heatproof
dish, and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. These elegant
eggplant “boats” will serve six people.

Aubergine Continental

This superlative eggplant extravaganza from France is
served cold as an hors d’oeuvre, and in Italy is used as an
equally unusual and delicious hot vegetable side dish.

First boil or bake an eggplant. While it’s cooking, chop
1 onion, 1 seeded green pepper, and 1 tomato into very fine
pieces. Add 1 thinly sliced zucchini and 1 clove of minced
garlic. Heat up 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a
large skillet and sauté the mixture until its
ingredients are limp and tender. When the eggplant is done,
peel it, chop it very fine, and add it to the skillet. Flavor with 2 tablespoons of red wine, a little oregano,
salt, and pepper. Mix everything well, stir in half a can
of tomato paste, and–finally–simmer the mouthwaterin’
delight for 45 minutes.

You can serve this dish hot, or chill the delicacy and
offer it as a dip with crackers or potato chips. Either
way, your guests will love it!

Exquisite Eggplant Provençale 

Wash and peel a firm eggplant, cut it into 1/2-inch slices,
and season the chunks with salt, pepper, and a dash of
paprika. Then sprinkle a mixture of finely chopped parsley,
garlic, and bread crumbs over the vegetable. Place the
slices–with a thin coat of olive oil on top–on a lightly
greased pie pan and broil the dish until it’s lightly
browned and tender.

While the eggplant is cooking, cut a couple of medium-sized
tomatoes in half, season ’em with salt and pepper, and
sprinkle some of the parsley/garlic/breadcrumb mixture on
top. Dot the fruit halves with butter, place ’em on another
lightly greased pie plate or baking pan, and grill ’em
slowly in the oven until lightly browned.

When serving, arrange the tomato halves on top of the
eggplant and you’ll produce a treat that’s handsome
enough to grace any table!

Extraordinary Eggplant Meatloaf 

And finally, here’s an eggplant tip that turns an ordinary
meat loaf into something special indeed! Simply use your
favorite recipe, but alternate layers of the ground
beef mixture with slices of raw eggplant. Bake the loaf for
the usual time, then sit back and soak in the rave
reviews!


EDITOR’S NOTE: Three of MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ recipe taster/testers “had
at” Beatrice’s eggplant delights with the following
results:


Both the Parmiglana and Continental dishes got top ratings,
and the latter was reported to be delicious when added to
pinto beans, too. Ms Levin’s Salad Supreme recipe was also
well received, although our tester noted that the
color of the finished product was an unappetizing (to some)
“okra” green. (The vegetarians in the crowd loved it, but
several less adventurous folks declined a chance to taste
the dish.) The Provençale was also popular,
especially when the eggplant was cooked until tender before
the other ingredients were placed on top. And Beatrice’s
Eggplant With Oysters was reported to have a pleasing
poultry-dressing-like texture and a flavor especially
agreeable to seafood fans.

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