Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mmmm, eggplant!

Hi there, dear reader!

Autumn is creeping up on us and if it ever stops raining for longer than 24 hours it would be great to go out and enjoy the colours and crisper weather. That said, Autumn also means that it's time to start cleaning up the garden and make use of the abundance of produce that comes from that clean-up (and no, I'm not sick of zucchini... yet.)

"When Summer Meets Autumn" ACEO
Copyright Rita Woodburne

This year I grew eggplant and, to be perfectly honest, for the better part of the summer I didn't think I was going to get anything from the plants because of the cool, wet weather and also because due to my back injury a lot of my planting took place about a month behind schedule. Eggplant takes a bit longer to grow than most veggies and it looooves warm, humid weather so this Summer it fell short of a lot of the requirements for successful growing. However, much to my surprise towards the end of August I noticed that there were little eggplants popping up all over the place and last week we enjoyed the first of those little eggplants.

Now I don't know a lot of eggplant recipes and I'm contemplating trying to make baba ganoush but in the interim (and because there was only 1 eggplant that was ripe at the time) I figured I'd try out an appetizer/ side dish with the one that I had. It was super easy and if you like eggplant or want to try it out here's a recipe you may enjoy:

Eggplant & Tomato "Sandwiches"

1 eggplant, sliced into 8 1/4" pieces
1 tomato, cut into 4 slices
4 slices (or rounds if available) of mozzarella or provolone cheese
1 tbsp basil (or fresh basil leaves if available)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat BBQ on lowest setting.

Take 4 slices of eggplant and lightly brush 1 side with olive oil. Place tomato slice, sprinkle of basil (or 2 fresh basil leaves), slice of cheese on top of each eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Place another eggplant slice on top and secure with a toothpick.

Brush top of eggplant "sandwich" with olive oil and place on grill. Flip carefully after 10 minutes and brush other side with olive oil. Cook another 5-10 minutes, remove from BBQ and enjoy!

These were really easy to make and even the Other Half, who isn't a big fan of eggplant and tries to avoid eating tomatoes because they upset his stomach, hoovered his back and asked if there were more.
Depending on how hot your BBQ runs you may want to keep an eye on them and if you don't have a BBQ I suspect they would turn out just as well in the oven but, again, you'd have to keep an eye on them to make sure they didn't burn and all the cheese doesn't melt out.

So there you have it. Some art and a recipe!

I enjoy eggplant and I'm glad I wound up getting some from the plants even if they are smaller than usual. My next food-related project: Operation Baba Ganoush.

Transmission over.

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