It’s a jungle out there people, a wonderful, delightful culinary jungle. Gardens are filled with fresh corn, tomatoes, peppers of every kind, and be still my heart, the gorgeous, “eggplant”. I am an eggplant lover! I’ll take them all, the deep bold purple ones, the trendy striped ones, the retiring violet…and even the white ones (but honestly there’s something a little wrong with that one!) To quote Jeff Smith, (noted cartoonist), “How can people say they don’t eat eggplant when God loves the color and the French love the name? I don’t understand.” My thoughts exactly Jeff!
So last evening when a very sweet, very busy, and very dear friend was exclaiming that she needed to bring a fresh, garden vegetable dish to pot luck, I knew I had the right suggestion. Bring an eggplant dish, I exclaimed! “A WHAT? “Was the refrain, “BUT, what do I do with it?”
Flash ahead, somehow my enthusiasm for this star of my garden had me offering, “I’ll put something together for you quickly, no problem – swing by and pick it up around 6pm”. So I took our purple rock star eggplant and thought, okay, a quick slice and toss in a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil, the Amazing Rub, and a very hot oven (400 degrees). That will do it up nicely…and it did. I proceeded to eat the first roasted eggplant…first a piece or two, then shall we say, “The dish ran away with the spoon!” No kidding, it really did!
Okay, needing a little inspiration to up the game for the eggplant, I went in recipes and found my simple recipe for Eggplant Parmesans! (SEE below) Simple, use a Texas Muffin Pan, roast the eggplant, layer a little marinara, a little cheese….Oh wait, now add a little roasted mushroom and peppers, a little cheese….okay maybe a very little bit of egg/cream mixture to make them stay together and look all pretty. I had done it again, had to pick more eggplant, so that I could reserve one pan for my own personal experiments!
So above are the gorgeous creations that are going with “said friend” to the pot luck. But there is a condition for the donation, she must bring the recipe sheets and share them! I for one, cannot bear to hear the refrain, “eggplants so pretty, but what do you do with them?!” ever again!
Here is to the simple pleasure of slicing and dicing the summer bounty my friends! Do it with relish, joy and imagination. Keep it simple, or make it complicated (I fall somewhere in the middle!) And from the bottom of my heart, my secret….add a little bit of The Amazing Rub, if heat is involved, it just takes the great and seals the deal towards Amazing!
To share a great quote from a hero and culinary giant, Mario Batali; “When you cut that eggplant up and you roast it in the oven and you make the tomato sauce and you put it on top, your soul is in that food, and there’s something about that that can never be made by a company that has three million employees.”
The Amazing Eggplant Parmesans
Makes 6 -8 servings: You pick you favorite vegetable; our favorites are Eggplant, Cauliflower, Zucchini and Butternut Squash! For a meatless meal that is loaded with goodness and delicious taste, the Amazing Rub makes it easy to bring the best taste to the table with “Roasted Veggie Parmesans”.
1 Tbls Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp of The Amazing Rub
1 cup Pizza or Marinara Sauce
*1 cup Mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Basil leaves (optional)
Roasted Red/Yellow Peppers
and Mushrooms optional
**Option, razor thin sliced cook sausage
*1 Cup Brie Slice instead or option
Prepare by rinsing the Eggplant (we don’t peel), and slicing into 6- 8 ¾” thick slices. Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper or spray with a oil spray (we do both). Place Eggplant slices on sheet and brush each side with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the eggplant on both sides with the 2 full teaspoons of the Amazing Rub Seasoning – set aside and let rest for *30- 60 minutes. (*if you have the time this will enhance flavor, but can be prepared right away) THE RUB CARMELIZES AND ENRICHES TASTE!
Bake in 400 degrees oven for 15 minutes, then remove and turn slices…bake another 10-15 for a golden browned vegetable slice. Use the one cup of sauce divided equally on all Eggplant slices, top with Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese.
If you have roasted Peppers and Mushrooms
these are a great additional topper
(prepared the same way, balsamic vinegar,
Amazing Rub, and a little Olive Oil)
Bake topped Eggplant slices 5-7 additional minutes in oven, remove and garnish with fresh Basil leaves or herbs if desired. Enjoy!