Around this time of year the question I am usually asked by people I meet in the stores or from people who send me e mails is: What do I do with the vegetables and herbs that are coming out of my garden so profusely? It appears that eggplant is the vegetable of choice for a lot of people, but many of these same people end up with an great abundance of the vegetable. Although most have one recipe for preparing eggplant, they seem to grow much of it that they are looking for additional recipes.
Before cooking eggplant, slice it in the shape you want for the dish you are preparing, sprinkle the slices with salt and let them sit for thirty minutes. That establishes two things; It takes out a lot of bitterness, and when you cook it the oil it absorbs is a great less than if you didn’t salt it. Pat the salted eggplant gently with kitchen towel.
Cut the eggplants into one inch cubes, drizzle with olive oil, toss until well coated, and then broil in the oven until they are golden brown. When they’ve cooled, put enough for your family’s meal into a freezer bag and freeze them. In the winter, when you’re making a soup, salad, stew, or pasta, simply open the freezer bag, let thaw and dump the mixture into your soup pot.
For eggplant Parmesan, Mosakaa, lasagna or eggplant bundles , I slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. For baby eggplant I cut in half lengthwise. If they are not too large around, they are cut right down the middle. on a cookie sheet, brush them with olive oil spray. Broil, don’t fry, the eggplant until they are dark brown, allow to cool, then separate and place into freezer bags.
For smoked eggplants to use in spreads, pierce large eggplants in couple spot and place on the hot grill and for 5 minutes or each side. When the skin become brittle and the eggplant collapse, move and place in a bowl to cool. When the eggplant cool down, gently peel the charred skin and discard. Place the smoked flesh in a colander to drain. You can place the smoked eggplant flesh in freezer bag and save for the winter.
When it is time to use the eggplant, just take the bag out of the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator.
Now, when you see your neighbor walking in with a gift of 2o pounds of eggplant just smile and say thank you.