For the Love of Eggplant

With the end of summer, this heat loving favorite is a nice change for dinner.

It seems opinion falls into 2 camps on eggplant. Like or dislike. I venture to guess most in the dislike camp probably haven’t tried eggplant.

Outside of Eggplant Parmesan (simple recipe from allrecipes below), here’s a couple of great dishes that will showcase the versatility of this lovely summer vegetable. We start growing the plants in early summer, and they will last well into October providing pound after pound of delicious dishes for those daring to experiment!

Simple Eggplant Parmesan (from ALLRECIPES.COM)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. …
In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. …
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

This recipe was found in our local newspaper, the Lexington Leader from Chef Deedle. We tried it with several guests for dinner and all loved it!

1 small eggplant
1/2 lb. Sausage, hot (Taylor farm sausage is awesome in this recipe!)
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup fresh dry bread crumbs
1 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 cup cracker crumbs (we used Italian bread crumbs)
Note: you can add other vegetables to this. We added chopped sweet peppers and cooked them with the onions and sausage.
Peel eggplant and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cook in a small amount of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool slightly.
Cook sausage and onions until onion is tender and sausage brown.
Combine eggplant, sausage mixture, egg and bread crumbs. Mix well and spoon into a greased 1 quart casserole.
Combine butter and cracker crumbs, sprinkle over casserole and bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Another awesome recipe is from Loretta Turner here in Lexington. The simplicity of this recipe makes it a quick and delicious way to prepare eggplant and also as a base for a variety to add-ins. For instance, add in other vegetables like squash or hot peppers, onions, spices…..the possibilities are endless! These also sound like a great appetizer when entertaining.

1 eggplant, peel cut and cook until tender. Drain and mash.
Add 1cup flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1 egg.
Mix well. Drop by spoonful in deep grease. Fry until brown.

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