LAKE MACBRIDE— What to do with all of the eggplant?
The image in this post is a bit of a protest because despite their colorful variation, eggplant is a vegetable that could be absent from life and few would notice. The fact is they are abundant, easy to grow and cheap at the market. Despite their limited nutritional value, they provide interest when they are in season. A saving grace in the deluge of summer abundance.
My repertory of eggplant dishes includes a recipe for eggplant Parmesan, ratatouille, a layered casserole using tomato sauce, zucchini, onions and other seasonal fare, and now braised eggplant with potatoes. Here’s the recipe that produced savory results.
Braised Eggplant with Potatoes
One pound of eggplant, cut into one inch chunks with the skin on
Two pounds small potatoes, halved
3-4 medium onions, medium dice
Quarter cup dried parsley (fresh if you have it)
One cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1-1/2 pounds seeded and chopped tomatoes (slicers or plum)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/4 cups water plus 1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons flour
Soak the eggplant in water for 30 minutes
In a Dutch oven, combine the onion, tomatoes, parsley, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1-14 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Add the potatoes and the rest of the water, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, or about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, drain the eggplant and season it with salt to taste. Heat the 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Dredge the eggplant cubes in flour and fry until golden brown on all sides. When finished, place the cubes in a strainer so excess oil will run off.
Add the eggplant to the potatoes and sauce, stir, cover and cook another ten minutes or so. Turn off the heat and leave the pot on the stove until ready to serve or store.
The dish serves well hot, warm or at room temperature.