Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's for supper?

This year in our garden, we tried something new: EGGPLANT! I never even tasted an eggplant until we picked our first one. That first one, I sliced up and battered and fried. It tasted so much like fried squash that I decided I now love eggplant.

The other day, Manti picked 4 of them, so I needed to figure out a way to use them so I could have them fresh instead of figuring out how to freeze them or something. So I started looking online for recipes using eggplant. I didn't want to go to the grocery store, so I hunted for something simple. Here is what I came up with:

I sliced up the eggplants in rounds, as if it were yellow squash or zucchini or something like that. I had a bowl of egg and a bowl of ritz crackers I crushed up (the recipe called for bread crumbs but I didn't have any and didn't want to go shopping). I poured some olive oil into a non-stick skillet and got it hot on medium heat. Then I dipped a slice of eggplant into the egg, then dredged it in the crackers. From there it went into the skillet and browned on each side.

I also had a casserole dish on the counter that had been sprayed with non-stick spray. As the eggplant pieces got done, I placed them in a layer across the bottom of the casserole dish. Once I had a layer, I finished cooking my eggplant pieces, but put them on a plate instead.

When all eggplant was done and half of it was in the casserole dish, I wiped out my non-stick skillet and poured a can of tomato sauce into it. I sprinkled a little salt, but not a lot since the sauce already had some. I let it simmer for a few minutes and turned off the heat, then I added some fresh basil that I talked Mesa into chopping up for me. The smell was really nice!

I drizzled half my sauce over the eggplant pieces in the casserole dish. Then I sprinkled some shredded cheddar cheese (I think mine was sharp) over that. Then I layered the rest of the eggplant pieces on the cheese, added the rest of the sauce, covered it with aluminum foil and put it into a preheated (450 degrees) oven for 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes, I pulled it out, removed the foil and sprinkled another layer of cheese on top. I put it back into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese...maybe 3 or 4 minutes.

We ate it up and got quite full even though it wasn't a large amount! I was surprised!
Manti kept saying he would expect a mouthful of beef, and then be surprised when he chewed it. I admit, it does remind you of meat. I don't know if that's the texture of the eggplant cooked like that, or if it was the breading on it, or if its just the sauce smells like a meat sauce. Either way, it was still really good and everybody says I should cook it again sometime.

Not bad at all! *Pat myself on the back*

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