Easy Peasy Garlicky Roasted Ichiban Eggplant 

Too much eggplant? No such thing. But should this situation arise in your garden, I suggest you roast it.

First, and on a total side note, I find it awkward to tell people about my “eggplant plants.” It sounds weird and redundant. I accidentally find myself talking about my “egg-plants,” but there (sadly) aren’t eggs growing on them. Turns out, eggs come from chickens and other assorted animals. I can’t be the only one who’s experienced this. It’s a minor crisis, I know, but still worth the cathartic rant.

Now onto the roasted tasty discs of eggplant…

Take as many eggplants as you want. The more the merrier, and they roast down to an iota of their original some.

Cut them in 1″ discs and lay them out on a baking pan in a single layer.

Lightly coat them with a flavorful olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add a clove or two of finely minced garlic and toss around to spread the garlic love around. Don’t leave anybody out. (On a side note, beware with how much salt you use because the eggplant will shrink when the water content evaporates and the flavors, including salt, will concentrate and intensify.)


Put into a preheated 375 degree oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes. Be sure to peek in at about the halfway mark to make sure things aren’t going from delicious to burned. If your cook’s intuition is telling you the oven is too hot, reduce it to 350 and be vigilant.

I like to serve this eggplant as a side dish or add to a salad once it’s chilled. Or, as in the case the other night, I eat it before I can even take a photo of it. It’s so darn good.

Happy gardening and blissful eating to you!

Until next time,

Jenna

Easy, Breezy, Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

I do this thing where I go to the farmer’s market, buy the most perfect, tender organic eggplant, and then they go bad and end up in my compost bin before I get to use them. Well, not this time, my friends. Oh no. I present to you the whole reason I buy these babies: Eggplant Parmesan Casserole.

I’m almost ashamed to show how easy this is. Seriously, it’s a piece of pie (pumpkin, of course)! And one of the greatest things about this recipe is you can make it with just about any amount of eggplant, sauce, or cheese you have on hand. It’s very forgiving.

Regardless, there are some ingredients you’ll need:

  • Fresh, firm organic eggplants (I used white, but you could go with any you like)
  • Bread crumbs (seasoned with granulated garlic, salt, and pepper)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • All-purpose flour
  • Your favorite organic tomato sauce (marinara, pomodoro, or whatever you like)
  • Mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese

First things first, get your breading station ready. In three different bowls, put the beaten egg, about a cup of flour, and a cup of seasoned bread crumbs.

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Preheat your oil to 375 degrees in a heavy skillet or pot. Fill the vessel just a couple of inches; it’ll be more than enough.

Next, slice your eggplant in nice, even slices. I used six small eggplants for this because my boyfriend is crazy and doesn’t like eggplant. It’s an offense punishable by breaking up. (Kidding…or am I?)

Some people like to salt them and let them drain for few minutes to draw out the bitterness, but the white ones are so sweet. I  honestly don’t even do this with the purple ones. I just skip it altogether. They’ll start browning a smidge, but it’s OK; they’ll be fine. The taste isn’t affected whatsoever.

To fry the eggplant, dredge first in flour (shake off excess), next dip in the egg, and coat in bread crumbs. This is sort of messy, I admit, but it’s well worth it. One by one, place in the oil. Do this in small batches as to not bring down the temperature of the oil by overcrowding. You want things to get nicely browned and crispy. And, for the love of all that’s good, don’t put the eggplant on paper towels to drain. Use a wire cooling rack to allow the oil to drip down. Paper towels only make things soggy. That’s not good eats. (Alton Brown’s so smart.)

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Then, in your favorite casserole dish, start layering. Think lasagna. I place a layer of fried and drained eggplant, some sauce (by the way, here is the link for my favorite sauce recipe), some grated parmesan, some shredded mozzarella, and repeat until you’re all out of ingredients. Make sure, though, whatever you do to top with sauce and cheese. Because, let’s face it, that bubbly layer of cheese is why you’re all here.

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Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is all brown, bubbly, and perfect.

Let cool for a few minutes (resist the urge to pick all the cheese off the top), slice, and eat. Finally, thank God for creating the eggplant.

Happy eating, everyone!

Oh, by the way, sorry about not having a final photo. Melted cheese is my siren song, and I forgot. I’m so weak.