Friday, July 8, 2011
I simply can't wait for eggplants from our garden. A strong desire yesterday for my (admittedly incredible) Eggplant Parmesan (adapted from Patrica Wells' recipe in Trattoria) overrode the lack of actual mature eggplants and basil in our garden -we have them both growing now, but they are a long way from harvest size. I bought these three at a produce stand on my way home from work last night determined to make Eggplant Parmesan for dinner.
This first bulb of garlic from the garden on the other hand, indicates our garlic harvest (click here) is not far off. I used this garlic and some shallots my husband brought in from the garden to make the most sublime tomato sauce. Of course, in a perfect world I would have used fresh tomatoes from my garden instead of canned ones, but lacking garden fresh tomatoes, basil and eggplants in July shows just how far from perfect my world is.
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 chopped onion OR 3 freshly pulled shallots
2-6 minced garlic cloves (I used almost the entire bulb)
Cook a few minutes. Add:
2-14 oz. cans Italian diced tomatoes
1-14 oz. can tomato sauce
Cook 15 minutes or so and set aside.
Slice: 3 lbs or so -4 baby, 2 large, or 3 medium sized eggplants
1/2 - 1 lb mozzarella (rather thin slices) Again, in a perfect world I would be using mozzarella I'd made myself. I'm no longer (click here) making cheeses like I did a few years ago.
1/2 - 1 c. fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced crosswise, OR (defrosted) pesto dollops (click here)
Dip or brush eggplant slices in olive oil (1/2 - 1 c. or so). Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheep or broiler pan and broil (or grill) until browned on both sides. I have to do this in several batches in my marginally adequate oven, so hitting the door at 5:30 meant we weren't actually eating dinner until almost 7, but it was worth it!
In a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish, spoon in a thin layer of sauce, 1/3 of browned eggplant slices, 1/3 mozzarella slices, 1/4 basil leaves (or pesto), and 1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese. Continue layering as for lasagna, topping with sauce and Parmesan. I forgot the Parmesan on the first layer and ran out of pesto for the last layer, and it was perfectly FINE. Even if it's not perfect and you do whatever, it'll still be great.
Bake 40 minutes in 400 degree oven, or 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven, or however long you can keep the family at bay before they all start chewing on each other in hunger. Serve this hot, warm, room-temperature the next day (which is really when it's at its best), but NOT cold from the fridge.
Eggplant Parmesan, garlic toast, a garden salad with Balsamic Dressing (click here) and a deviled egg on top made dinner last night perfect satisfaction in an imperfect world.