Easy eggplant ravioli

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Remember I mentioned eggplant would be showing up every so often? Well, here it is again. I continue to find other ways to prepare this veggie/fruit–it has seeds, does that make it a fruit? Hmmm.

This is still quite similar to the way I had prepared it in the past in that the eggplant is sorta stewed. I’m going to call this a ragout. I’m not completely sure that’s what it is, but I like the name and this is my blog so that’s the name it gets. The dish is a simple one, no complicated or fancy cooking skills required, but it does have a few steps if you choose to make it into raviolis. Alternatively, you could make the ragout and serve it over your favorite pasta. That would be oh so good too.

Eggplant & Tomato Ragout

2 shallots, sliced
3 large tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1 large eggplant, cubed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cp gin or wine

In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil and add the shallots; cook until translucent. Then add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have soften. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Add the gin or wine (you can also substitute with stock) and ignite it to burn off the alcohol.

Add the eggplant, stirring well to coat all the cubes with the tomato puree. Cover with a loose-fittingĀ lid, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 20 minutes or until eggplant is soft and creamy.

Set aside and prepare the ravioli.

For the ravioli I used Chinese wonton wrappers. Here’s the step-by-step action.

Work with a few wrappers at a time. Brush one side with water, these little wrappers have a lot of cornstarch on them to keep them from sticking to each other. I brushed the entire surface with water to get rid of the excess and also to moisten it so I could press them together.

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Drop aboutĀ 2 tspsĀ of filling in the center of the wrapper. Don’t overstuff them.

Top with a second wrapper and pinch the edges together. I don’t have a pasta or pastry cutter, I used a knife to trim off the edges. In my head that would help seal the edges together.

Once you’ve filled all the raviolis, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make sure to add enough salt and oil to cook the raviolis. About 5 minutes or so (follow packet instructions) or until they float to the top. Drain and set aside.

I made a quick BechamelĀ sauce to top the raviolis, then laid them out in an oven-safe dish, topped them with the sauce and sprinkled some Parmesan. Then baked for about 15 minutes and broiled until the top was golden brown and bubbly. You can skip the bechamel altogether and simply serve the raviolis with the ragout that’s leftover.

These were soĀ light and delicious, I hope you’ll enjoy them. As long as I’m on an eggplant kick, do you have a recipe you love and want to share?

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

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One eggplant, two eggplant, FRY!

I wish I could tell you I know a lot about eggplant, but I can’t. I never touched the stuff when I was growing up and as a young and not so young adult, I stayed away from it based on my early childhood impressions.

Then I went to Spain and the stuff was EVERYWHERE. I tried it roasted and swimming in garlicky olive oil and I feel in love with the creamy sweetness of it. Since then, I’ve made it a handful of times, always following the preparation I enjoyed in Spain. I add onions, peppers and garlic, douse it with olive oil and either roast it in the oven or slow cooking on the stovetop.

Lately I’ve been pondering about other ways to eat it since it is now a friendly veggie.Ā  This means it will make an appearance every so often on this little blog. Today, I’ll give you a recipe I found in Saveur magazine for fried eggplant. When I tell you it is to die for, I am NOT exaggerating. The batter is a similar to a tempura batter, but it is ridiculously easy to make. Read on.

First things first, get that eggplant ready for consumption. I didn’t know this about eggplant, but it has an inherent bitterness that is best removed before frying. Saveur’s suggestion is to use salt to draw the bitterness out.

Peel and slice the eggplant into rounds that are about 1/4 inch thick. Lay them out on a cookie sheet that has been covered with paper towels or a kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt, preferably coarse that way the eggplant doesn’t absorb as much of it. The salt also seems to prevent the discoloration.

Saveur’s recommendation was to let it sit 30 minutes, but the first time IĀ made these I allowed them to sit for about an hour and that seemed to work best. At the end of that time, you’ll notice there’s a lot of liquid on the tops of each slice.

FlipĀ each slice over and squish it into the towel to remove the liquid andĀ removeĀ some of the moisture that may still be trapped in the slice. ThenĀ brush off with a damp cloth to remove the excess salt.

OK, Ok. Here’s the recipe:

Saveur’s Fried Eggplant

1 1/2Ā cp flour
1 1ā„4 cp white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
1 large or 2 medium eggplants sliced into rounds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

Whisk wine and flour in a medium bowl until batter is smooth, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remember that the eggplant slices will have some salt if you used that method, so be mindful about how much salt you’re adding to the batter. I would suggest following the recipe as is, frying one slice and tasting it before adding any more salt.

Pour oil into a heavy skillet or deep fryer and heatĀ oil to 400Ā° or until it sizzles when you drop in a little batter. Dip eggplant slices in batter, then drop themĀ into oil, but try not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown, flip and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels.

You can keep them warm in a 200Ā° preheated oven. Something weird happened when I made these the first time. I left the skins on them and it was perfect just out of the fryer, but as they cooled, the skin was tough and papery. I suggest peeling them, makes eating them a LOT more enjoyable.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

PS: The batter was awesome on asparagus too!