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General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

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Old 5 Days Ago   #61
leshachikha
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I make these dolma-like things every week in the summer and into the fall when my eggplants are going crazy. They can be grilled, fried, or baked. They're also easy to make vegetarian, are surprisingly "meaty"/filling, and freeze very well.

Eggplant Collard Rolls
* 1 medium Italian eggplant or equivalent in Japanese eggplants
* 1 yellow onion
* 1/2 head of garlic
* 1 c. herbs: mint, parsley, dill, or combination of whatever you like
* 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
* 2 lemons, zest and juice
* 1 c. cooked brown rice
* 2 eggs
* 1 block sirene cheese (aka Bulgarian feta/Bulgarian white cheese in brine) or regular feta
* About 40 large collard green leaves
* Chicken or vegetable broth

1. Saute eggplant.
Finely dice the eggplant and onion. Mince the garlic. Saute in olive oil with generous salt and pepper until just softened. Remove from heat.

2. Make filling.
Mix cooked eggplant/onion with minced herbs, finely chopped walnuts, rice, zest and juice of the lemons, and chopped cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning-- needs to be very salty to stand up to the greens. Add more olive oil if necessary. Then add 2 beaten eggs and mix well.

3. Prepare collards.
Bring a shallow saucepan of broth to a simmer. Blanch collard leaves a few at a time until very bright green and supple-- only should take about 10 seconds each. Cut the inflexible central ribs out of each leaf.

4. Make the "dolma."
Lay a leaf down on your work space. If it has any holes or is very small, you may need to use two. Put ~2 1/2 tbs of filling in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides over the filling, then the top down, and then roll tightly down towards the bottom to make a short, fat cylinder.

The moisture of the leaves should make them sticky and hold them tightly closed, but if you're having any trouble you can always thread the rolls onto skewers.

5. Cook the rolls.
You can fry these on the stovetop in butter and olive oil with onions until the greens are slightly golden. Or you can butter a dish and bake them at 375F for 25 minutes (perhaps topping with more cheese and olive oil). Or you can put them on skewers, brush them with oil, and grill.

6. Serve the rolls.
I like to serve them with a lemony-herby yogurt sauce, but they're good plain too.

Last edited by leshachikha; 5 Days Ago at 01:11 PM.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #62
TomNJ
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I make a fast, easy, and clean Eggplant Parmesan that we feel taste much better the traditional breaded and fried dish. The traditional method makes such a mess from the breading and frying, and the eggplant absorbs the oil like a sponge, thus losing most of its natural flavor and taking on a cooked flavor. My method retains the eggplant taste along with the olive oil flavor without the mess.

I take two very large or three medium eggplants, peel the skins off with a potato peeler, and slice them into 1/4" thick slices. The slices are then quickly dipped in extra virgin olive oil, one side only, shaken to remove excess oil, and stacked spread out on a large platter, oil side up. The platter is then microwaved until the slices are very soft, about 15-20 minutes.

While the eggplant is cooking I brown one pound of lean ground beef, chopped fine, and add it to one quart of tomato sauce. This is simmered for about 15 minutes.

While the beef is simmering I cut three 8 oz balls of fresh mozzarella cheese into thin slices, and bring out some grated Parmesan cheese and basil.

The dish is then assembled in a large casserole dish, layering eggplant slices, beef in sauce, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and basil. I can usually get 3-4 layers in the dish. Since the dish is assembled hot it just require a short heating to make sure all of the mozzarella cheese is melted, usually 15 minutes in the microwave.

Sometimes the dish will have a fair amount of juice when freshly cooked. If there is enough I pour the juice off and it makes a wonderful soup, either as is or added to a cream of tomato soup. Most excess juice tends to reabsorb after a day in the fridge.
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