Taste of Rockland

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Tomorrow is the Taste of Rockland at the Pearl River Hotel. I’ll be there, introducing the chefs and milling about. Hope to see you there. Meantime, here’s a recipe from Del’Arte in Orangeburg, one of the participants.

Del’ Arte’s Sicilian Eggplant

Ingredients:
2  Large purple eggplants (sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch) should yield 16 slicees
1  20 ounce can of San Marzano Plum tomatoes,  drained and chopped (reserve the juice)
1 cup of freshly made breadcrumbs
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
2 medium size zucchini (slice thin)
4 ounces of white wine
1 large white onion (diced)
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
1 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1 cup of loosely packed chopped basil
1  tablespoon of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flour
3 large eggs ( beaten)
About 6 ounces of olive oil and 1 cup of canola oil

Sprinkle the sliced eggplant with salt and place in a colander with a weight on top and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes ( this will drain the bitterness out)

In a 12 inch skilled, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium to high heat. Put in the onions and sauté till translucent ( about three minutes). Ad the garlic and brown for about one minute. Add sliced zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms and let cook over high heat tossing continuously until vegetables are caramelized ( add white wine in the process). Lower the heat to medium and add ½ the tomato juice. Cook until reduced ( 4 to 5 minutes). Spice it up with salt and pepper and chopped basil. Put all the cooked vegetables in a big bowl together with the cup of breadcrumbs, ½ cup of parmigiano reggiano, three tablespoons of olive oil, ¾ cup of basil, ½ of the parsley and mix it all together.

Pat dry the 16 slices of eggplant with a paper towel. With a big spoon, scoop the vegetable mix and place on one slice of eggplant. To[p it with another lice of eggplant ( sandwich style). Press the sliced eggplant together blending the outer parts in an attempt to seal them. In two containers place the flour and the 4 beaten eggs. One by one dip the sandwich-style eggplant in the four first and then in the egg wash and place aside in a container.

In a 12 inch skilled, heat the canola oil for about 3 to 4 minutes ( must be  very hot). Two at a time, fry the eggplant being very careful not to let them come apart, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Place the fire d eggplant on a plate covered with a per towel and pat dry and excess oil. In an oiled baking pan, place the 8 stuffed eggplants. Top each one with 1 tablespoon of plum tomato sauce and shavings of parmigiano. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes (until cheese is nice and melted). Place them on a platter and sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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