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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baked Eggplant with Arugula, Asiago, and Lemon

So I guess it's safe to say this blog has really become more of a, I'll-get-to-it-when-I-feel-like-it writing space for me.

Which is kind of sad.  Every time I sit down to start writing a post (which, honestly, is about once every three weeks or so) .. I easily get distracted.  I spend a lot of time in front of a computer for work every day, which makes time spent away from a brightly-lit electronic screen increasingly valued.

Most times I don't finish writing the recipe.  I just quickly snap a picture of whatever I made, Instagram or Facebook it, and move along.

And pretty much every time I do that, someone inevitably asks:

"When is this going on the blog?"

... alright you guys.  I'm finally caving in.  I'll try to do this more than once every four-five months or so.  By the way, all of you who also have blogs and post a bunch of times a week?  I give you a lot of credit.  This really is no joke.  I admire your dedication, for real.


I visited my parents a few days ago for a short stay, and as always, they sent me back to my place with a long hug goodbye and a shopping bag filled with food.  I don't know if they think I never grocery-shop for myself (which, Mom and Dad, I can assure that is NOT the case .. I'm at Shoprite almost every day sometimes) or if they just feel like parenting me in the most hands-on way they still can.  In any event, this is not a complaint - they always hook me up with some really great stuff.

This time around, I got a thick slab of my mom's meatloaf she had baked the night before (meatloaf always sounds bizarre to me, but my mom's is irrisistable), an array of peaches and plums, and a big fat eggplant that was almost perfectly symmetrical and photogenic.

Of course I didn't take a picture of that.

It sat in the fridge at E's house (by the way, I have LOTS of blog material for that ..) for the next four days.  We never got around to a night that we had alone together.  This summer has been incredibly busy - the house is so beautiful and I cannot wait to share it.  The kitchen is just about done and it's custom and picturesque.  E and I have picked out every detail so it's just as we want it.  It's just perfect.

I'm tangenting.  Sorry.  I'll get to all that some other time. 

Finally, tonight, E and I were able to actually relax after work and enjoy the evening.  I posted on Facebook a plea for ideas for dinner recipes involving eggplant (that weren't eggplant parm).  Immediately, I got a direct message from a high school friend recommending this recipe.  I modified it using my tried-and-true baking instead of frying technique, and it truly was a hit.  I paired it with my Summer Orzo Salad (which, again, will be a post of its own) and E raved about it. 

Also: Thanks to everyone who posted recipes, I will be trying them all!  I really know nothing about eggplant other than putting it under heaps of Parmesan and tomato sauce.

This is one of the easiest things to make and is completely filling while being meat-free.  How many of you eat a dinner - frequently - with no meat or seafood in it (that isn't pizza)?  I never thought it was really possible until my mid twenties.  It's truly fulfilling!

Baked Eggplant with Arugula, Asiago, and Lemon

  • 1 large Eggplant
  • Seasoned Breadcrumbs (I use whole wheat; you can use homemade or even go gluten-free and use corn flakes .. I didn't want this super-crunchy though)
  • 1 Egg 
  • 1 cup Arugula
  •  1/2 cup dry, shredded Italian cheese - I used Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano
  •  Fresh Lemon Juice
 Peel and cut eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.  Dredge in salt and set aside for 20 minutes.  Then rinse slices thoroughly with cold water and pat dry.
Read about why you salt an eggplant here.  Also, check out this blogger's irresistible essay about salting eggplant.  A true foodie!

Dredge the eggplant slices in egg, then breadcrumbs, then place on a lightly-greased (cooking spray) baking sheet.
Set in a 400F-degree oven for 15 minutes, turning once.  Set the oven to Broil for another three minutes, until color is toasty brown.

Place on plate and top with cheese, arugula, and a generous portion of fresh-squeezed lemon juice.  About a wedge-worth of lemon for each piece, you know the size wedge you get on your drink from the bar.

Serve immediately.  Enjoy with a light summer salad, a glass of white wine, and a loved one.

Also - how many of you have heard of Thug Kitchen?  It's probably the funniest blog I've ever read.  Google it and check it out - it's chock-full of terrible language, but if that's your kind of humor, you'll love it.

Well, there we go, I actually finished this thing.  I'm pretty amazed!  Maybe it'll be only a few weeks until the next one.  ;)