My Eggplant Stockpile
I love eggplant and everything it means when I see it rolling in off the fields and showing up in my Full Circle box. The lovely purple globes are the fall equivalent of a ground hog, announcing that soon there will be more time inside for quilting and more slow cooked meals to perfume our weekends. I know its time to stock the winter pantry.
Eggplant wasn’t part of my family’s Scotts-Irish food traditions. I discovered it first as eggplant parmesan and for years thought it existed only on the menus of Italian and later Asian restaurants. Happily, my repertoire of eggplant recipes has grown over the years, so during this time of eggplant abundance, I stockpile.
Split in half and roasted they freeze beautifully, to be used throughout the year in Melitzanoalata, a Greek eggplant dip that makes converts of even the pickiest of eaters, and has become a favorite at farm potlucks. If the grill is hot, I’ll cut and grill 1” slabs and freeze them separated with parchment. Then late in winter when snow flurries and cold winds blow, I’ll roll them with the same filling of cheese and herbs that in the summer highlights squash blossoms and cherry tomatoes.
The most versatile of the eggplant dishes I’ll be stockpiling for this winter is Ratatouille, that lovely French vegetable stew. Cauliflower, peppers, onions, squash, green beans and of course eggplant get cut into uniformly sized pieces to be individually roasted and then combined with lots of garlic and parsley, canned tomatoes and white wine. Frozen for future meals, the flavors will meld and make for wonderful quick dinners over rice and pasta, on bruschetta and in soup.
This week though, my eggplant will be eaten fresh, dipped in egg, pan fried, topped with cheese and smothered in a sauce of fresh heirloom tomatoes.