Friday, September 1, 2017

Veggie of the month: Eggplant!

Fun facts about eggplant:
  •          Like tomatoes, eggplants are not actually vegetables they are technically berries
  •          In Italy, eggplants were once known as “mala insana” which translates to crazy apple
  •         Eggplant is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, K and vitamins of the B group, and minerals such as copper, phosphorus and magnesium 
  •           In order to see if an eggplant is ripe, press the skin with your thumb, if the indentation disappears it is ready to eat!

Recipe: Eggplant Ragu

This play on the classic Italian sauce replaces meat with the nutrient rich eggplant and tastes great with pasta or polenta.

     1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut across in 1/4 -inch slices
     2 tablespoons kosher salt
     1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
     1 pound red bell peppers, cut lengthwise in 1/8-inch strips
     6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
     2 ¼ pounds plum tomatoes, diced
     Freshly ground black pepper to taste
     12 large leaves basil, shredded

Sprinkle the eggplant with 1 tablespoon salt and drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse, pat dry and cut in 1/4-inch dice.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the eggplant, peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cover. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the basil and let sit for 5 minutes before serving with pasta or polenta.