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Eggplant...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I love eggplant and it escapes me.

There are two types I would love to have any input about.

1 - Parmigianna. Tender inside, Slightly crispy crumbs outside. I can't seem to get the eggplant to get to the soft yummy state. I've tried pre-baking, soaking, slow cooking... help!

2 - a Szechuan flavor. It has an oily texture but not necessarily sesame. Very hot from the spices but moist and tender as well.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

April
post #2 of 12
April - for the Parmigiana type eggplant - have you tried char-grilling it first? Spray/brush with a little olive oil then char grill until it gets nice n soft. Let it cool then crumb and fry/bake as usual. See if that helps.

As for the Szechuan - not sure, I'd like to hear any ideas out there too.

G'luck :)
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #3 of 12
Thanks for asking this! I am growing eggplants in the garden for my first time ever and need ideas. One of the first thing I thought of was eggplant parmegiana!

DC, I love your idea! Even without the crumbs and frying, I bet that eggplant will taste great. Anything on the grill is better, IMO.
post #4 of 12
April, you'll have to kick this up a notch by adding some chopped chilis to the sauce. It has all the flavor of Sichuan, but not much heat, cuz Friend Wife can't take hot stuff. But even toned down it's delicious:

Sichuan Fried Eggplant

1# eggplant

Batter:

1/2 cup fllour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup water

Sauce:

1 tbls peanut oil
3 tbls scallions, finely chopped
1 tbls fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp chili bean sauce
2/3 cup stock
2 tbls Sherry
1 tbls cider vinegar
3 tbls tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
2 tbls soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water

Cut eggplant into thin 1 1/2 inch by 3 inch slices. Do not peel*

For batter, mix flour, salt & water in small bowl. Let sit 20 minutes.

For sauce, heat pan until hot and add 1 tbls oil. Put in scallions, ginger, and chili sauce. Stir fry 30 seconds. Add stock, sherry, vinegar, tomato paste, sugar & soy sauce. Cook for 1 minutes. Thicken sauce with blended cornstarch. Cook another minute. Set aside.

Heat oil until hot. Dip eggplant slices into batter, letting excess drip off. Deep fry. When done remove from oil and drain well.

Arrange slices on a platter. Pour sauce over them and serve.

*I usually just cut the eggplant crosswise into rounds. Either way works great.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 12
The only way I like eggplant is as baba ghanoush.

This version is pretty good though I think he has a better one in another of his books:

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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 12
I like baba ghanoush too. It's similar to my Rumanian grandmother's roasted eggplant relish, potlagiana. It was roasted, then scraped out of its skin and mixed with raw, minced onion, oil and vinegar. I don't remember any herbs or other seasonings but I'll ask my mom (who also used to make it).
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post #7 of 12
Believe it or not, guys, I typed out a Lebanese version of Baba Ganouj right after my last post. And then the site wouldn't let me post it.

Shortly after that I took a slice out of my finger with the new food processor. So retyping it will have to wait a bit.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 12
NOt sure why your eggplant is not creamy inside, unless perhaps the eggplant itself was not particularly good? It shouldn't be allowed to go to seed, and it should be dense and not soft when it's raw, with shiny skin.

Melanzane in barchetta (boat-shaped eggplant)
One way to cook eggplant, if you have the thinner variety, though it works also with the thick if they're not too big, is to cut it in half lenghthwise. Make deep crosshatch slices into it crisscrossing into the flesh but not going through the skin, so when you press the eggplant skin down the squares of flesh kind of pop up, with grooves between them.
Take good firm bread (artisan type bread that holds up) which can be fresh or stale. about a small slice per eggplant. Cube it.
Put it in some water, till it's wet, then squeeze dry.
Crush a garlic clove per eggplant, debone and wash some salted anchovies (optional), remove the seed from a handful of gaeta olives or other similar dark olives in brine (not canned pitted olives, which have an entirely different taste). Chop a good amount of fresh parsley with a little thyme or a small pinch of origano, or a couple of sprigs of fresh basil.

mix these all together with the bread, add good olive oil, salt, pepper. Traditionally this is quite oily, i'd say about a tbsp per eggplant is the absolute minimum or it will be dry.

Preheat oven to 375 or so. Put the eggplants in a pan that they just fit in side by side, a 13x9x2 baking pan is good, if they fit in there, and put some olive oil on the bottom (i use parchment paper so it doesn;t stick). Press the edges of the eggplant halves so the grooves open up and press the stuffing into the grooves (it will be messy, some will be on top, doesn;t matter). Cover in foil and cook for about half an hour or so, depending on the size of the eggplants, you can;t be precise about this. Just open the foil and prick with a fork, they should be soft. Bake more if they're not soft yet, it can be up to an hour, then uncover and let the top get a little brown. Good hot or warm or even cold.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #9 of 12

How could I have forgotten....

... the garlic! My mom says raw garlic was added to the eggplant, too. I remember giving the garlic and onions a light saute before adding to the eggplant if they were particularly strong.

Siduri, that sounds delicious. :lips:
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post #10 of 12
One of the few things my mother in law cooked well!
Even her italian son has to admit i beat her in cooking! wow, that's a compliment!:lol:
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #11 of 12
Allie, I posted this recipe a while back. It contains eggplant, tomato, zucinni, onion, olive oil, mozza, parmesan, and seasonings.. Its very good!
Might give you another idea for your eggplant crop! :)

http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/recip...egetables.html
post #12 of 12
AprilB; First of all it sounds like your not using enough oil. Eggplant sucks up oil like a sponge and I suggest that it's biting into a partially oil soaked piece is what gives that buttery mouthfeel. I start with 1/2 in slices of eggplant. Put them into a couldren and pour kosher salt all over the slices to get them to sweat out the bitter juices of the eggplant. Let sit 30 min. then rince and pat dry. Have a pie plate with flour,one with egg wash and one with italian bread crumbs. coat each slice with flour.dip in egg wash then put in italian bread crumbs and repeat on all slices. Put plenty of olive oil in a med. hot pan,1/16 in deep. when olive oil is heated,3 to 4 min.,fry slices to golden brown adding more more olive oil as needed. Put some marinara or spagetti sauce in bottom of baking pan,I prefere glass sprayed with a release spray, layer eggplant place 2 to 3 tbl. sauce on slice and top lightly with a mix of parmesian and mozerella. repeat one more time and top with lots of cheese. Bake in a preheated 375* oven for around 30 min till cheese is lightly browned. I would'nt worry about the amount of oil since this is a once in a while dish and the olive oil is good for the body. Make sure to pick a fruity oil. I got kind of carried away with this responce to your thread. I think I had a senior monent...lol...good cookin...cookie
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