Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gluten-Free Recipes : Garden-to-Plate #3

This is a continuation on my series of Gluten-Free Blog postings about recipes that use our annual garden harvest for delicious and healthy gluten-free diet delights.

Today's post is all about using those ever versatile vegetables: eggplants!

The first thing I do is quickly rinse the eggplants off, remove the stem, and cube the eggplants. Then, I place the eggplant in a cast-iron fry pan that has a bit of olive oil in the bottom, and I also quickly apply some canola oil-cooking spray to the surface of the eggplant.

Now, crank up that burner on your stove to a rather high temperature, as you will want to caramelize the eggplant and sear the surfaces. This tends to bring out quite a bit of flavor and adds a bit of complexity to the final dishes. This will only take a few minutes, and the result will look something like this (I placed the eggplant in a bowl for the picture, since it didn't show very well against a blacked/seasoned cast-iron pan).

Now you can have all sorts of fun creating a variety of derivative gluten-free recipes and dishes that start with caramelized eggplant.

One simple recipe I create with the eggplant relies on the recipe I just recently posted, which is the Gluten-Free Italian Tomato Sauce Recipe with Peppers, Onions, Garlic, and Basil. That recipe yields another very versatile "base recipe" that can be combined to form many other wonderful gluten-free diet creations.

I simply combine these two items together - the eggplant and the tomato, pepper, onion base. When I finish braising my eggplant, I simply leave it in the pan and then start adding ladle-fulls of the tomato mixture to it, allowing it to simmer and thicken a bit as I go. In the end, I get a nice rich tomato-eggplant stew of sorts that is quite flavorful and goes well with all sorts of other dishes.

Another variation I create simply adds garlic, onion, basil, and some hot pepper flakes to the eggplant towards the end of the caramelization process, and continue to apply the same caramelization technique to these added ingredients, yielding a recipe that delivers something like this to your plate:

Simple, and absolutely fantastic... and, it just happens to all be naturally gluten-free too! I can hardly emphasize enough how I love eggplant, as it is so easy to work into all sorts of dishes. Have fun making your own variations on these gluten-free recipes, and enjoy experimenting with new combinations of vegetables and additional ingredients. Enjoy!


Karen said...

I love eggplant, too. My favorite thing to make with it is eggplant parmesean. Click here for my recipe:

Dana said...

Eggplant is absolutely one of my favorite foods. I made some eggplant zucchini ragu with gluten free pasta tonight, but it didn't look nearly as pretty as these dishes.

Thanks for posting these recipies; I will definetly have to check them out!

- Dana, a fellow gluten free clevelander

Lynn Barry said...


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Just wanted to let you know I'm enjoying this post series!

Lynn Arola said...

I am also a big fan of eggplant and plan to add it to my next GF lasagna. Veggies are my favorite food and if I go with out leafy greens for too long my body starts to crave them, especially spinach and broccoli.

Mike Eberhart said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone, and I am glad you are enjoying the series. I have some more recipes and such coming soon. The ironic thing is how we are so busy cooking and freezing garden items that we hardly have time to blog about them :)