Here’s an ode to the eggplant. It’s the purple fruit, or vegetable, depending on who you ask, with an oblong shape, that’s often overlooked. It’s usually fried or masked with strong flavours. But this week, it’s front and centre as Susan Hay takes eggplant from farm to table in this week’s Simply Delicious.
Here’s the recipe we tried:
Recipe by : Rose Reisman
1 large eggplant
2 Tbsp (30 mL) 2% milk
⅔ cup (160 mL) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1½ cups (375 mL) diced plum tomatoes
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped green onion
1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) minced fresh garlic
pinch of salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh basil for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425°F Line a baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with cooking oil.
Slice eggplant into 8 – ½” width slice. Beat the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a separate plate.
Dip eggplant in the egg mixture, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, turning over half way.
Stir the tomatoes, onions, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper together in a bowl. Spoon over the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bake another 2 minutes. Garnish with basil.
Eggplants are plump, with dark purple, glossy skin. They’re fat-free and cholesterol-free. They contain phenolics, a health promoting group of phytonutrients and are a great source of fibre and folate. Research has shown soluble fibre to be beneficial with blood sugar control, and help to keep us feeling full for longer – good for appetite control.
Victoria Shabatura, from Shabatura Farms adds they’re a great source of protein, and a meat substitute for vegetarians.
When it comes to farm fresh goodness, it doesn’t get any better than what they do at Shabatura in Windham Centre, Ontario. The farmers there point out how they take great care of their produce. Victoria says “we stake and we tie each plant, and then as the plant grows we add string, which helps keep the plants off of the ground.” She adds that they use pruning shears to cut the eggplant as oppose to ripping them off, “which helps with a cleaner cut, and helps keep the product a better quality.”
They started harvesting the eggplant crop this month, and Shabatura will have eggplants available until the first frost.