Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Italian

Oregano is one of those herbs that is best used dried not fresh. So what might the cook do with the fresh oregano spilling out of the garden at the season's end? 
Sprinkle garlic with a tad of salt and chop finely before adding to 1/4 cup olive oil. The salt helps the garlic to release its juices. While garlic juices infuse into the oil prepare the eggplant for roasting. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise leaving the stem in tact. Carefully peel away   all of the purple skin leaving about a finger's width at the edges. Add salt, pepper, & red cracked pepper to the garlic infused oil. Generously slather eggplant with oil mixture and top with one hearty sprig of fresh oregano before turning face down to roast! The garlic will continue to infuse as it roasts and surprisingly doesn't burn! This is a garlic lovers delight! Cover with foil and roast at 400 for about 45 minutes.

If the eggplant is cooked till very soft the chef can turn them over, sprinkle freshly grated Italian cheese of choice (Parmesan or Asiago) and continue cooking till cheese begins to melt and just beginning to brown.
If the chef would like to make more of a hearty meal with this side, the addition of a thick-chunky-red sauce and fresh mozzarella will compliment this eggplant beautifully! Simply prepare a hearty-red sauce (recipe below) while the eggplant cooks. Be sure to include some dried oregano in the sauce, to accent the fresh oregano that has infused while roasting. When eggplants are soft, remove from the oven, turn over, and top with read sauce and fresh chunks of mozzarella. Return to oven for about 25 minutes to allow the cheese to cook-melt. The magazine recipe called for the addition of fresh bread crumbs and grated parmesan to complete this masterpiece. 

Note to cook: Ingredients make all the difference when cooking. Know where your ingredients come from! The RQ procures all of her fresh Italian cheeses and other Italian specialty items at Ciaccia's Delicatessen
Doesn't that look scrumptious!
Fra Diavolo Sauce

1-28 oz can organic-whole-peeled tomatoes, Muir Glen or preferred brand
2-3 Tblsp extra-virgin-olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tsp cracked-red-pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
parsley, fresh-chopped
pat of unsalted butter (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano (included here only to compliment the fresh-oregano-infused eggplant)

Sauté garlic and red-pepper flakes in olive oil in saucepan over moderate-low heat being careful not to burn the garlic or pepper (till fragrant or just beginning to brown slightly). Add whole tomatoes and crush with potato masher (wavy-Z-shaped model). For this recipe only, add 1 tsp dried oregano. Simmer 30 minutes adding salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and butter (opt) at the end.

Eggplant Recipe Inspired by Bon Appetit (October 2013).

No comments: