I decided to take advantage of the abundance of the Summer growing season by featuring a new unusual vegetable each week. These vegetables may be ones you've had before, or ones you've heard of but never dared to taste. Or, they may be ones you had no idea how to prepare to eat. I'll include a bit of information about the vegetable, a simple recipe, and a linky so you can share your favorite recipe featuring the vegetable of the week. The series will run through the end of August, and I'll publish a post every week or two.
If there's a vegetable you'd like to see featured in the series, or if you have a preparation tip to add, please let me know in the comments. And don't forget to link up your eggplant recipes below!
As far as health benefits go, eggplant may help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. It is a good source of folic acid and potassium, and it helps block the formation of harmful free radicals. Another interesting fact about eggplant is that it is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant. But don't worry, you'd have to consume 20lbs of eggplant to ingest the amount of nicotine contained in just one cigarette. (From Wikipedia's Eggplant article.)
I really like eggplant, and I should definitely eat it more often. It's good in curries, and also lots of Italian dishes. I particularly like it in ratatouille, which is an extremely nutritious (and beautiful!) dish, and a wonderful way to use both eggplant and Summer squashes like zucchini.
As the most requested vegetable for this series so far, I felt a little more pressure this week when it came to choosing a simple recipe to feature the delicious eggplant. (Plus, those requesting it had specifically asked that I not make eggplant Parmesan.) I decided to make (eggplant Parmesan inspired) eggplant fries based on this recipe. I'm a fan of all kinds of fries, really, so I was excited to try out this dish. I bet you'd even be able to get your kid to try them!
1-2 eggplants, peeled and sliced into ¾" wide sticks (you know, fries)
1 cup milk
¾ cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten-free flour.)
¾ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Italian herbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Oil for frying
- Salt the surfaces of your eggplant sticks. Set them in a colander for 30 minutes. (As far as I can tell, the purpose of this steps is to remove a lot of the liquid from the eggplant, so that it will cook more quickly and be easier to eat.)
- Rinse them thoroughly with water and pat dry with paper towels. (A note about the seeds: They're not really that edible—not easy to chew, though they're not bad for you—so discard any that fall off in the cutting process. But don't worry about doing a very thorough job; the crunchiness of the batter in this recipe makes the seeds nearly undetectable in the final product.)
- Combine the milk and eggs in one bowl, and the flour, cornmeal, cheese, herbs, garlic powder and salt in another bowl.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
- Dredge eggplant fries first in the egg/milk mixture, then in the flour/cornmeal/etc. mixture, then place them in the oil. (I found this fairly easy to do several sticks at once, which helped the cooking time to be more even for the whole batch.)
- Fry for 3 minutes or so, or until the fries are golden brown:
- Eat hot! (You may want to add a little more salt to the outside of the fries as well.)
How do you like to eat eggplant?
Linked up at Seasonal Sunday at Real Sustenance.