I recently ordered groceries delivered from Natooura. They arrived yesterday, and I was up to my neck in vegetables. I had ordered way too much produce, but boy, was their radicchio worth it. Beautiful! It is called Grumolo, Variegated.
I decided to make a list of everything that was delivered and cook the most perishable first. It would be too much work to find recipes and cook something complicated, so I roasted the green beans with sesame oil, a la an old Moosewood /Mollie Katzen staple recipe. Inspired by a page in Jerusalem by Ottolenghi for Roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad, I roasted my cauliflower. I figured I could compose a similar salad with said radicchio, and baby spinach that were part of the delivery. I also roasted some Forono Beets, and decided to save the Badger Flame Beets for later. After all, beets last in the fridge for quite a long time.
I know I have read advice somewhere that one should always prepare groceries for use upon getting them home, so it felt good to follow through. I also was inspired by a recent IGTV session with comedian, actor, and WTF host, Marc Maron. After engaging in some self-loathing subsequent to eating many holiday treats such as chocolates, cakes, and always his beloved go-to ice-cream, he got his food act together and did a lot of cooking. When he opened his refrigerator and showed us all sorts of containers of prepared cooked vegetables and even one of mujadara (a classic Arabic recipe featuring cooked lentils and rice, caramelized onions, herbs and yogurt), I was impressed.
So let's get down to it. After washing some baby spinach and radicchio and storing then in a bowl for quick salad ingredients, it was time to deal with the two wonderfully fresh eggplants in my veggie bin. There were a few recipes on the NYT food website for quick and easy eggplant parm dishes. But the two I noted called for frying the eggplant. Too messy, smelly, unhealthy. I chose to thickly slice the eggplant, brushed the slices with olive oil, and roasted them in a 375 degree F. oven for 25 minutes, turning once midway. While the eggplants roasted I sauteed chopped onion, and then added chopped tomatoes which were at the perfect cusp of ripeness. My sauce came together nicely as the eggplant roasted. I then assembled the parm dish by layering eggplant, topped by sauce, topped by a chèvre that came in my Natoora boxes, grated parm, and repeated twice more. The casserole roasted in the oven at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes, and voila, supper was served, with plenty of leftovers to either freeze, or use in the next few days.
If you are more inclined to cook a traditional eggplant, check out an older recipe on Cooking the Kitchen at Old School Eggplant Parmesan. Or if you are looking for an eggplant recipe with a Mid-Eastern twist, check out Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce. But for now, if you don't want to work too hard at it, try today's Quickie Eggplant Parmesan, and enjoy! To all my readers on Cooking the Kitchen, wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Quickie Eggplant Parmesan
I adapted NYT's Mark Bittman's Eggplant Parmesan Recipe to my own needs, as described in this blog post. However herein I give you Bittman's original recipe. In his intro. he describes eggplant fried in oil as "dreamy." If you want a healthier version, do as I did, and not as he says. Nonetheless, however you like to prepare your eggplant, enjoy!
- olive oil as needed
- 2 lbs eggplant, preferably small ones but in any case, firm
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes or one 28-ounce can, chopped
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Put ⅛ inch of oil in your largest skillet (the bigger the skillet, the faster you can get through sautéing the eggplant) and turn the heat to medium. Start trimming and slicing eggplant: ½-inch slices, or maybe ⅜-inch, but not as thin as ¼ inch. When the oil shimmers, add the eggplant; you can crowd them as long as they don't overlap. Season with salt and pepper and cook, turning as necessary, until nicely tender and browned on both sides; drain on paper towels. Add more oil when necessary.
Alternative eggplant prep: Brush eggplant slices on both sides with oil and bake it in half pans for about 25 mins/side at 375 degrees turning once.
Cook the onion in the remaining oil; when it's tender, add the tomatoes and some salt and pepper and cook at a lively simmer until saucy, 10 or 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 400.
Eyeball your eggplant and your baking dishes and pick a nice dish that will work. I like a big oval gratin dish for this. Add a layer of eggplant, then tomato sauce, then cheese, then eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese. That will probably do, but you can make more layers if you like. Bake until the cheese is melted and the whole thing is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot or at room temperature.