Summer is fading, and I am enjoying the last of the tomato and eggplant harvest . They have been phenomenal!
Nutritious and delicious — that’s the goal. Take advantage of these fresh varieties while they’re available. Here is the eggplant parmesan way …
I used basically 4 ingredients (eggplant, tomatoes, cheese and olive oil), and 2 of those were either grown at my own home or came in my “box share” from my CSA. If you don’t know what a CSA is, please read all the way to the bottom…
But first back to the eggplant parm, which is easy to make but takes about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. Sometimes great food does take a little longer, but it is always worth the wait! … The secret I am sharing with you is that I just used amazing heirloom tomatoes and the most beautiful eggplant I have ever seen, both from my Honey Brook Organic Farm box share. (I am sorry I did not take a picture of them, so unfortunately I have no photo with this post.)
I start by slicing the eggplant fairly thin (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 inch) and putting them in a colander. I lightly salt them, which pulls out the “bitter liquid” before I cook them. Pat them dry and then dredge in mixture of whole wheat pastry flour seasoned with some salt & pepper. I always use whole wheat pastry flour to flour things. Get some if you don’t have it — it’s best for replacing refined white flour in baked goods of any kind.
Lightly fry all the eggplant in olive oil and then simply layer in your baking dish like a lasagna — eggplant layer, then fresh tomato layer , then thin slices of fresh mozzarella. (I used roma tomatoes for the first layer and then yellow and red heirloom tomatoes on top, so it was beautiful!) I do that two times, so you finish with cheese on top and then sprinkle the “real” Parmigiana Reggiano on top. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 45 minutes. Buon appetito!!
Now for the community supported agriculture (CSA) info. Basically, I want you to know they are great and now is the time to start thinking about registering for next year’s growing season if you are not already a member of one. To learn more, check out http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ to find a farm and the US Dept. of Agriculture’s site for info on CSAs: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml
My CSA farm is www.honeybrookorganicfarm.com
A friend I met this summer owns this gorgeous farm: http://www.stonegatefarmny.org/
Have fun getting to know your local growers!