After a disastrous eggplant recipe that featured the new-to-me vegetable in a slow cooker lasagna – one of the few meals in the history of our marriage that my husband reminded me we simply did not eat and even gave away the leftovers – I avoided eggplant like the plague for years.
We got a few tiny eggplants in our CSA box last summer, and I ignored each one in the fridge for a few weeks before guiltily included it, finely chopped, into various stir fries, soups and casseroles, just to get rid of them. They even got a mention in my eBook Better Than a Box as I described that process.
That’s why when I brought home a rather large eggplant from the Farmer’s Market last week, my husband raised his eyebrows.
“What’s that?” he asked indignantly.
“Eggplant,” I meekly squeaked. “I couldn’t help it – they were so pretty, and so cheap! 33 cents!”
I have an impulse control problem like that, but luckily it seems to exclusively kick in at the Farmer’s Market.
Now What to do with the Eggplant?
It’s a problem I run into more often than you’d think – I have this vegetable in my crisper drawer, now what?
After a little help from the KS Facebook community, I gave eggplant a shot, and not as a hidden, finely chopped part of a larger dish.
I went all the way to an eggplant-centric side dish, surprising everyone.
I held out a piece toward my husband, saying, “Try this.”
(This also happens more than one would think, and he’s understandably skeptical, but a very good sport.)
What is it?”
“It’s better than you’d expect, isn’t it?” I crowed gleefully.
“Well, I think so. It’s not bad. But…what is it?”
Yes. Now I really am surprised…”
Want the secret?
Eggplant Recipe for People who don’t like Eggplant
Scroll down past the pictures for a condensed, printable version.
Step one: Wash and slice the eggplant very thinly. I didn’t use a mandoline, and I don’t know that you’d want quite paper thin slices, but about 1/8-inch should be perfect.
Step two: Salt the eggplant slices generously (at least 1/4 tsp.) and allow to sit for 30 minutes. I did it in layers in a bowl, salting each layer like this:
Step three: After the 30 minutes, liquid will have been drawn out of the eggplant, and with it, any bitter taste (and yucky taste!) from the vegetable:
Pour that off and preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle. My newest favorite cooking gadget is my huge cast iron griddle (here on Amazon) but that I got at Mighty Nest, where they’re giving 15% of your purchase back to your elementary schools right now (use code “stewardship” for 10% off!).
Step four: Grease the surface, and over medium-low heat, lay out a single layer of the eggplant slices.
Step five: Brush the top side lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
Step six: When the underside is browning like this after about 2-3 minutes, flip each slice:
Step seven: Using a microplane grater, get as much finely shredded Parmesan cheese as you can on top of each slice. Don’t worry if a bunch gets on the cooking surface.
Step eight: Continue cooking until the bottom browns and the cheese is melted, another 2-3 minutes.
Remove to a plate and eat warm. Don’t tell people what they’re eating if they hate eggplant.
Printable Version: Eggplant Side Dish Recipe
- 1 large eggplant
- Real Salt
- extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Wash and slice the eggplant very thinly, about ⅛" each.
- Salt the eggplant slices generously and allow to sit for 30 minutes. (Use at least ¼ tsp. salt for a large eggplant, if not more. Open your shaker up to the "big holes!")
- Pour the liquid off and preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle to medium low.
- Grease the surface and lay out a single layer of the eggplant slices.
- Brush the top side lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
- When the underside is browning lightly after about 2-3 minutes, flip each slice.
- Using a microplane grater, shred as much Parmesan cheese as you can on top of each slice.
- Continue cooking until the bottom browns and the cheese is melted, another 2-3 minutes.
- Remove to a plate and serve warm. Don't tell people what they're eating if they hate eggplant.
Harness that local, fresh produce for as long as you can! Here are some other favorite summer produce recipes:
- Sausage Zucchini Bake
- Canned Restaurant-Style Salsa
- Lacto-Fermented (& canned) Crunchy Pickles
- Sausage Bean and Kale Soup
- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (this season should be beginning any time now!)
- Things I always freeze (if you can’t use it, preserve it!)
- How to Preserve Apples (after last year’s abysmal apple season, I cannot wait!)
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.