Not All Recipes Are Keepers

I don’t really like eggplant that much; unless it’s deep fried. But every now and then I give it another chance. I got this recipe from ‘The Silver Spoon’ cookbook. It’s translated from Italian and claims to be Italy’s best selling “culinary bible”, however, it’s not one of my favorites. The recipes are confusing and many of them call for ingredients that are unavailable in the U.S. If you want a good Italian cookbook I’d recommend ‘Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking’ by Marcella Hazan. Her recipes are easy to follow, authentic, and written for the American market. And as far as culinary bible goes, the one book I remember being in every Italian home was ‘Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well’ by Pellegrino Artusi. It was written over 100 years ago, still in print, and is unlike any cookbook you’ll find on the shelves today. The recipes are vague and assume the reader already knows a lot about cooking and, most importantly, how the dish is supposed to taste.

But back to today’s eggplant. This fricassee looks good on paper. The eggplant is stewed with onions and tomatoes and at the last minute flavored with a mixture of egg and lemon juice. The original recipe calls for five eggplant – for four servings. Now, Italian eggplant may be smaller than the ones we have here (although I don’t remember them being much different) but I still can’t imagine needing more than one per person; even if they were deep fried. Luckily I only used one; and a small one at that. The egg flavoring was also a disappointment. I expected it to coat the vegetables, giving them almost a (dare I say it?) deep fried feel, instead it just turned the juices an unattractive pale yellowish color.

I doubt I’ll ever make this again but if you want the recipe here it is:

Ingredients

5 eggplants, thickly sliced (again, I only used one)

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons oil

1 onion, chopped

1 pound plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 sprig parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 eggs

juice of one lemon, strained

salt and pepper

Preparation

Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.

Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let drain for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Rinse the eggplants, pat dry and add to the pan, then add the tomatoes, parsley and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, cover, transfer to Sun Oven and cook until eggplant are tender. Remove the pan from Sun Oven. Beat the eggs with the lemon juice and pour over the eggplant mixture. Stir rapidly so that the egg does not scramble but coats the mixture like a cream. Transfer the fricassée to a warm serving dish and serve immediately.

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