Friday, September 05, 2008

Breaded or Not...

While eggplant isn't my absolute favorite vegetable, I do enjoy it in a number of ways. And when I get plenty of eggplant in my weekly CSA share, I have to figure out how to preserve at least a portion of it.

Pickling eggplant has turned out to be one good and savory way to enjoy that vegetable later in the year, but I can't see filling my shelves with it. And as much as I have been drying vegetables this season, I don't really fancy drying eggplant.

Instead, this weekend I've decided to return to my favorite way of preserving eggplant: breading and baking the slices and freezing them for eggplant parmigiana on a cold winter's night.

I had two white/lavender eggplant from recent CSA pickups, so I sliced off the ends and peeled the eggplant before slicing it thickly. Then, a few slices at a time, I coated them in beaten egg and dredged them in Italian breadcrumbs.

I laid the breaded slices on a greased baking sheet, cramming them in to fit, and I slid them in to bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes per side.

The slices end up tender and golden brown and utterly deliciously aromatic. I resisted sampling them while they cooled -- but it was tough!

While this may not be a great way of storing the breaded eggplant, I layered them (with wax paper in between slices) in a plastic quart-sized yogurt container and slapped on the lid before tucking them into the freezer.

When I'm ready for a quick dinner, I can pull out the container in the morning and let the slices thaw in the refrigerator while I'm at work for the day, and then I can arrange them in a baking dish, topped with herbed tomato sauce and shredded Parmesan cheese, and bake them for a delectable meal. How easy!

I may try to put away another quart container of breaded eggplant yet this fall, depending on what shows up in the CSA basket and how much time I have (not that it takes much time to make it). It's a useful thing to stash in the freezer for later and ever so much better than a TV dinner!

And I'll be ready for it come winter!

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