Eggplant—such a funny name for a vegetable! For me, there is nothing eggy about it. I suppose I have seen some small white eggplants that are egg-like in shape and indeed that’s where the name came from (the first eggplants Europeans encountered in the 1700s looked like goose eggs), but certainly it did not come from the flavor of the vegetable. None of the eggplants I’ve ever tasted have had the slightest egg flavor. I would also venture to say that for someone who has never tried eggplant, the name might be a little bit of a turned off. To me, the French name for eggplant, aubergine, sounds much more appealing.
Name aside, I am a big fan of this versatile vegetable. It can be found in cuisines around the world (the name aubergine came to the French through Arabic, Persian, and ultimately Sanskrit) and often serves nicely as a vegetarian main dish. However, cooking with eggplant does take a little bit of skill—it is not a vegetable that I’ve completely mastered. I’ve had eggplant dishes turn out tough and bitter and others turn out super oily and slimy.
So when a rather large eggplant arrived in our CSA box recently, I was determined to make something edible from it. I decided to go with a recipe that I learned how to make when I was in Italy a few years ago. I had to make a few substitutions based on the ingredients I had on hand, so I was a little nervous about how they’d turn out. Luckily they were a hit with both of us..!
Adapted from The Organic Tuscany Cookbook
I substituted rosemary for parsley and topped the croquettes with fresh tomato sauce. I think I ended up using about a cup of regular breadcrumbs in the croquettes and then rolled them in ¼- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs. You may have to add more or less breadcrumbs to get the correct consistency.
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
Boil the eggplant for about ten minutes in a large pot filled with salted water. Once the eggplant is tender, squeeze the water out of the eggplant with a clean dishtowel. Finely chop the eggplant.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggplant, egg, rosemary, garlic, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into patties. If the patties feel a little soft, add some more breadcrumbs to the mixture. Roll the patties in more bread crumbs.
Heat a large skillet and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the patties in the oil until golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately topped with fresh tomato sauce.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 basket cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Salt and pepper
- Several fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Heat the 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add tomatoes and cook unit tomatoes breakdown and the juices thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Five Chefs (Gourmet Fare!)
|The croquettes had a lovely crispy exterior and a tasty aromatic flavor from the rosemary. The offensive slimy texture that sometime accompanies eggplant dishes was not a problem with this dish.|
Two Easy Chairs (A Long March…)
|There are several steps to this dish. None of them are particularly difficult, but it just takes a while to get to the finished product.|
Two Apples (Surgeon General’s Warning!)
|These guys are pan-fried and probably pick up a fair amount of oil in the process.|
Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)
|The eggplant, egg, and rosemary were organic and local. The breadcrumbs were not organic or local.|