This is the first year I have ever grown eggplants. They are quite prolific. Our two plants have given us far more eggplant than we could reasonable use without becoming absolutely sick of it. We did the babaghanoush, eggplant parmesan, eggplant creole, grilled eggplant, tossed eggplant pasta, and some other things I’m surely forgetting. But they keep coming. I picked six the other day and preserved them. Then I picked a great big one for my Mom when she was visiting. There are about seven more that will be ready within the week. We are getting a little tired of them now, but I know we’ll miss them in the middle of winter. So, I’d like to share with you two ways to preserve eggplants. There aren’t really recipes to either of these, just methods.
Eggplant Preserved in Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil
The first is eggplant preserved in olive oil. Kept in the fridge, it would make a great snack on its own or a nice addition to salads. It could even be chopped up and added to pasta sauce for a nice flavor. I originally found this recipe at The Slow Cook.
Take 2-3 medium to large eggplants. Peel them and cut into bite sized slices or pieces. Salt generously, (not too much! I used about 1 or 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt) and place in a colander over a bowl to drain in the refrigerator, at least 12 hours. I wasn’t able to get to mine the next day, so they were draining for about 30 hours. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
Toss the eggplant pieces with any vinegar of your choice. I used balsamic. A red wine or a flavored vinegar, like pomegranate, would also be good.
Slice a few cloves of garlic very thinly. Grab some fresh basil leaves.
Layer the eggplant, garlic slices, and basil in a glass jar until full. Be sure to pack it all in tightly. Top with olive oil. This will keep in the fridge for quite a while. I think we had ours for about a month or two. We definitely ate it all up before it got bad. According to the original recipe, it actually gets better with age.
So enjoy it in a few months when you are in the mood for eggplant again.
Panfried Breaded Eggplant
The next recipe is almost as simple. Simply heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil in a shallow frying pan over medium high heat. Prepare three plates or shallow bowls. Put a cup or so of flour on the first plate. Beat a few eggs together in another bowl. Mix some dried breadcrumbs and whatever seasonings you would like together on the last plate.
Slice up the rest of your eggplants, about 1/2 inch thick.
Dredge the slices first in flour, then dip in eggs, then in the breadcrumb mixture. Fry until golden brown on each side. This should only take 2-4 minutes on each side. Add more oil to the pan as necessary.
Drain on paper towels. When they are completely cooled, place in freezer bags and freeze for several months. Make eggplant parmesan, sandwiches, cut them up and add them to pizza or pasta, or layer with cheese and other vegetables for a meatless main dish.