Brain dead with eggplant - help me make dinner!
September 19, 2016 6:49 AM   Subscribe

I have a large organic eggplant that I need to use up today. I am also nearly brain dead with kid-related lack of sleep. Tell me what relatively simple recipe I should make.

I am going to go to the store, but would prefer something that has less than 10 ingredients. Bonus points and gratitude for something small children are likely to eat w/out complaining.
posted by ryanshepard to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Eggplant parmagianna-ish. Stack eggplant slices with pasta sauce and grated mozzarella. Bake until you get tired of waiting.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:52 AM on September 19, 2016 [9 favorites]

Eggplant, onion, tomatoes or pasta sauce, ground beef and whatever else you feel like in a slow cooker?
posted by schadenfrau at 6:53 AM on September 19, 2016

Ratatouille over pasta. Sautee big chunks of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes in butter or olive oil, toss in some basil, salt, pepper, serve over pasta, put some cheese on it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:55 AM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Coat the eggplant and some unpeeled garlic cloves liberally with oil and bake them at 450° F on a cookie sheet. Turn the eggplant frequently. It's done when it basically collapses. Keep an eye on the cloves, pull them if they look too toasty.

While this is happening, cook, drain, and rinse some chunky pasta.

Slice some cherry tomatoes in half and throw them onto the pasta.

When the eggplant is done and has cooled enough to handle, slice it open, scoop out the guts and mix them with the pasta. Squeeze the gooey roasted garlic goodness out of the garlic cloves onto the pasta as well.

Toss everything together, adding a little olive oil if it seems dry.

Serve with grated Parmesan. You will think you've died and gone to heaven.
posted by BrashTech at 7:03 AM on September 19, 2016 [8 favorites]

Seconding ratatouille, but I've learned it's even easier if you cut everything into chunks, throw it in a baking dish, drizzle some olive oil on top and bake it for an hour.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:04 AM on September 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

Here is our family's variation on Past alla Norma:

You need: 1 eggplant, spaghetti, 1 garlic clove, fresh basil (if you have it), balsamic vinegar, one can of tomatoes (either whole or cubed), and parmesan cheese if you want.

Slice eggplant into strips. Slice one clove of garlic thinly. Chop up some basil stems if you have fresh basil and put the leaves aside for now.

Start boiling the pasta water.

In a big pan, saute eggplant on high heat until it gets sort of brown, then add the garlic and the basil stems. When the eggplant looks ready, toss in a little balsamic vinegar and let it evaporate. Add the can of whole tomatoes, and break up the tomatoes a bit with the spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down and let it simmer.

Once the water is boiling, toss in the spaghetti.

When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the pan with the eggplant and tomato sauce.

Serve everyone and put some basil leaves on top. Grate parmesan cheese on top if you want.
posted by colfax at 7:10 AM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like to slice an eggplant in half, slather it in olive oil, roast it at a high temp until the inside is easy to scoop out (but the skin/shell is still somewhat in tact). While that's roasting, I sauté some ground lamb (or beef would work, too) with onions and garlic. And then I add a big handful of raisins or other dried fruit, splash in a little liquid (but not too much), and a pinch of spices like cardamom or cinnamon or coriander or whatever I feel like, and some sugar or some honey. I stir in the scooped out eggplant and some pine nuts or chopped almonds or pistachios. I pile all of that back into the eggplant skins and bake for 10-15 minutes or so. This is always a hit, even with our kids (because it's sweet and savory, I think); nice with an easy salad of baby spinach + vinaigrette.
posted by pinkacademic at 7:11 AM on September 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

If you cook eggplant long enough (like in a stew type situation) it kind of melts apart and just makes the saucy part thicker. You don't even know it's there.

Really great for a sneak attack veg on picky kids.
posted by phunniemee at 7:20 AM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

In Israel my friends made me this amazing baked eggplant thing that could not be easier: prick it with a fork a few times, bake it in the oven like a baked potato, until it's soft all over, then slice it open and drizzle with tahini. Genius-level delish.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:25 AM on September 19, 2016 [7 favorites]

If you want something different from the tomato combinations suggested already (which sound great), eggplant roasted with miso is delicious and easy.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 7:44 AM on September 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

One quick and easy way to a delicious eggplant-cubery-dish (based on Marcella Hazan, as most anything): Cube the eggplant into medium-sized cubes, salt, mix, put in a colander for an hour or more.
I always use a salad spinner to get the cubes dry. Better than paper towels. You'll have to re-arrange the cubes a few times to eliminate unbalance. If done well it will eventually spin like an airplane turbine.
Heat many-a-tablespoons of good virgin olive oil in a large skillet, don't overheat, just so the eggplant dice sizzle and absorb the oil when entering the fry. After a minute of occasional stirring, add at least another tablespoon of oil (unless, which is unlikely, the eggplant cubes have not absorbed the initial amount of oil). Adjust heat so nothing gets too brown too fast, you'll need about 20-30 minutes of cooking time, stirring fairly regularly.
Chop liberal amounts of flat-leaf parsley and garlic together very fine and add to the eggplant about 1/3 into cooking. At the end, add freshly ground black pepper and check for salt. Can be served lukewarm, so prepared ahead of time.

Yes and I was about to describe BlahLaLa's method as well, which works in the microwave too, only don't forget the piercing or you might end up with an almighty bang when the eggplant skin finally splits. For better taste, you can also put the entire eggplant with a few holes pierced into it on the hot charcoal grill, lid on, scortchy-scorch, turny-turn, until burned on the outside and done inside. A colleague's mother in Haifa used a dedicated old, battered frying pan, heated up glowing-hot on the stove--all windows open, because it smoked like a bad accident. This only works obvsl. if you don't have smoke detectors installed in your home... and tolerant neighbors.
Discard the skin, slice the eggplant, or mush. Top with olive oil, salt, tahini. I usually jazz up my tahini with garlic and lemon juice, which will probably also require some water, as it tends to thicken with only the lemon juice. Make sure to use white tahini on this, not the grey organic kinds which I find too rustic for this dish.
posted by Namlit at 7:47 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

The way I prefer eggplant is to slice it into 1 cm thick slices and dip it in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then put on a bbq grill for a bit until charred.
posted by koolkat at 7:54 AM on September 19, 2016

Slice, crumb it fry it slice into easy to pick up pieces, serve with cubes of feta cheese (strangely is also nice with cream cheese blobs)and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Pick up with fingers & eat.
posted by wwax at 7:56 AM on September 19, 2016

Salate de vinete. It's a Romanian dip that you serve with toast points or pita like you would hummus. It's soooooooo good. That link is to Nadia Comaneci's recipe.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:04 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bonus points and gratitude for something small children are likely to eat w/out complaining.

Cut into 1/4 batons, salt and let sit for half an hour, then rinse and pat dry. Toss in a brown paper bag with some flour until lightly coated, then dip into beaten egg, then bread crumbs mixed with a little oil to help with browning. Bake at 450 degrees, heat up pasta sauce, treat the whole thing like mozzarella sticks.

Peeling the black skin may help keep the kids from being skeeved out by eggplant.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:27 AM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cut into slabs. EVOO. Balsamic. Throw them on the grill.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:39 AM on September 19, 2016

Nasu dengaku (miso-glazed eggplant)

This is a staple in our house. Just takes an eggplant, miso paste, mirin, and a couple other staples, tossed in the oven. Our kids love it.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:40 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks to you all! I went with the ratatouille, but will definitely be revisiting this thread in the future. I'm going to guy some eggplant at the farmer's market this coming weekend just to try the miso recipes.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Since you said you'd revisit the thread, and I noticed you liked the ratatouille, I came in to mention that I tried making ratatouille in my pressure cooker the other day and it was amazing. I did it for speed: home late, hungry kids, but ratatouille seems to be one of those dishes which are actually better in the pressure cooker.
posted by mumimor at 2:08 PM on September 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

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