Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Zucchini and Eggplant

Zucchini, Wikimedia Commons
I may have written about zucchini before, but considering how abundantly it grows, it is probably a topic that can be revisited more than once. I'm including eggplant because I've found that what you can do with one you can usually do with the other.

Fried Eggplant, courtesy Wikimedia Commons
I grew up eating fried zucchini slices and fried eggplant spears. I love both of them. I wouldn't eat either one of them stewed, but I ate them hungrily when Mom made them. I still love both of them fried. Mom would dip them in an egg wash and then into seasoned bread crumbs before pan frying them and draining them on paper towels. Salted with a side of ketchup and we were set to go. I honestly can't remember what else we had because my focus was on those veggies. 

Eggplant being sweated, Wikimedia Commons

Eggplant tends to be more bitter than zucchini which might be a turnoff for some, but I think if you buy them young (or use white eggplant) or be sure to sweat them prior to breading them (salting them to leach the excess liquid), a good portion of that bitterness is eliminated.

Homestyle Eggplant Parm
Mom also made eggplant Parmesan, which isn't exactly Parmesan since it has no Parmesan cheese, but what she made differs significantly from what is served in most restaurants. Hers was mostly like eggplant lasagna, but using fried slices of eggplant instead of lasagna noodles. What restaurants serve is individually fried slices topped with cheese and sauce with a side of pasta. I love both. But, if you have an abundance of zucchini, you can do the same thing - just slice it thicker than you normally do and layer it accordingly (or serve ala restaurant). They're both just so delicious!!

I have since discovered that I love grilled zucchini that is seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil before being grilled. Oh my gosh - I never thought I could enjoy it like that, but it seems that your tastes do change as you mature. Or maybe it's the tastes that mature because I can be pretty childish at times. 

I also like zucchini sauteed in marinara sauce. I still don't like it steamed, but in the marinara I can enjoy it. And, not too long ago, I tried Baba Ghanoush, which is a Middle Eastern appetizer dip that is made from roasted eggplant and garlic. Now, I had my doubts because I do NOT like garlic, but I was pleasantly surprised. I did add salt to mine, and it was served cold, but I did like it and would order it again. I'm wondering how it would taste if served warm because I think I'd like it that way even more.

So, that's the end of my April A-Z Challenge posts. I wish I could post as often without a challenge, but I'm still glad it was there. Maybe I'll do some Googling to see if there are other blog challenges out there. It keeps me motivated. I hope you've enjoyed reading my posts, though. I've enjoyed writing them.