I'm not an eggplant person. If there is such a thing.
First of all, it's a fruit, which is weird. I don't trust it. And what recipe are you aware of that calls for eggplant? Eggplant Parmesan, right? So it's breaded and fried and covered in cheese, and I'm left wondering, why choose it over chicken?
So I went 24 years without eating an eggplant. Until this fall when I enrolled in a CSA.
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. The World-Herald partnered with a Nebraska farm to bring the concept to their employees. Everyone who enrolled picked up their produce in the lobby of the building on Thursdays.
So it's convenient, reasonably priced, healthy, supports a local farm and saves a trip to the grocery store. Not a bad deal.
It also introduced some less familiar foods into my diet. Like eggplant. I found two in our blue, reusable bag over the course of 18 weeks.
I didn't know what to do with it. Luckily, my roommate did.
We made a delicious eggplant pesto, spread it over flatbread and topped with fresh mozzarella. Several of the ingredients we found in the CSA bag: tomatoes, red pepper, onion and, of course, the eggplant.
You have to try it. (And sign up for a CSA when next summer rolls around.)
Recipe for eggplant pesto from Saveur magazine:
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
2 plum tomatoes, cored and minced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup packed basil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place eggplant in a colander and toss with 2 tsp. salt; let sit for 20 minutes. Drain eggplant and dry on paper towels; set aside.
2. Heat oil in a 10” skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepper and onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
3. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer to food processor (or blender), and add ricotta and basil; purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Spread pesto over flatbread and top with fresh mozzarella. Bake in oven at 350 degrees until warm, about 8 minutes.
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