Deep summer is when eggplant is everywhere at the market. All kinds. Sicilian. Japanese. Purple. White. Striped.
Usually eggplant is turned into a large heavy casserole of breaded and fried eggplant slices smothered with tomato sauce and melted cheese. And there is nothing wrong with that. Extremely delicious! And a lot of work! This summer has been hot and humid followed by hotter and more humid followed by oppressive.
Here’s a simple recipe for marinated eggplant that takes little effort and produces a light and delicious side dish or salad ingredient that will last for several days.
First choose some lovely eggplants. I like to peel them but they don’t have to be. Next slice and salt. Slicing and sprinkling with salt and draining in a colander will take the bitterness out of the eggplant. Some are not bitter at all but for this recipe I de-bitter them all. Sicilian eggplant are round and fat and are quite sweet. Japanese eggplant are long and thin and are also sweet.
Let the salted eggplant slices sweat off their juice for about an hour. Rinse them. Dry them. (The yellow bowl shows the juice that drained out of the eggplant slices).
Fry the dried slices in olive oil. Eggplant slices soak up oil like sponges so be careful. You do not want too much oil. Drain the fried eggplant slices on a paper towels. Allow to cool slightly.
While the eggplant slices are cooling, mix the marinade. Use 4 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar. I used extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. But you can mix what you prefer. Then add a Tablespoon of dried or 2 Tablespoons of fresh herbs. I used a mixture of basil, oregano, garlic, parsley, thyme. But, here again, you can be creative and use what herbs you like best.
When the eggplant slices are no longer hot, put them in a container and pour the marinade over them. Cover and refrigerate. Periodically turn the slices so they are all covered some of the time. These will last about a week in the refrigerator.
These marinated slices of eggplant are delicious with sliced fresh tomatoes on a roll. They are delicious and make an elegant lunch or late dinner on a platter with tomatoes, salamis, cheeses, bread, olives, marinated artichokes, etc. And, of course, they are wonderful eaten at the open refrigerator and eaten with a fork.
Eggplant is a wonderful treat during the hot summer and this is a simple and delicious way to enjoy it.
Eggplant is everywhere….Springdale Farms, Flaim Farms, Buzby Farm, Savoie Organic Farm, Muth Family Organic Farm, Vireck Farm, Formisano Farm, Fruitwood Farm!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil = Villa Barone
Fresh herbs – Flaim Farm, Formisano Farm