Wednesday, April 18, 2007

By Popular Demand: A Basic Veggie Dish

This recipe was from my last summer's trips to the farmers markets. Mike&Misty left me a nice note to say, "More regular vegetable dishes." So here is one. If you cannot find eggplant, just use all zucchini and tomatoes. Save this one for summer's bounty of squashes and tomatoes and eggplants.

I will admit that I have not been a fan of eggplant unless it is prepared very creatively. Remembering that eggplant is like a sponge that will soak up a ton of olive oil, I avoided the fry method. It also saves on calories, heating up the kitchen, and cleanup. However, I took the more laborious approach to the cheese filling, using fresh herbs from my garden. I also got a bit creative and used other vegetables I had from that market trip, zucchini and tomatoes. The result? My new recipe for Vegetable Parmigiano. Very tasty, crisp and light, then cheesy and luscious.

My eggplant-hating spouse devoured it. My toddler loved it. I was so emboldened by the initial success I bought a ton of eggplant the next week, white, Japanese and green ones. To my delight, a huge pan of this dish disappeared from a table of six adults and two kids. People asked for more to take home with them. Let me know if you try it.

Vegetable Parmigiano
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book co-authored with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club.


Mike & Misty said...

This looks really delicious--thank you for posting it! I've printed it out for use this summer. My husband saw me looking at tomato instructions and said "Eww, tomatoes" but I think I could just not serve him that part of it :D I'd still cook it because -I- want to try it though.

A few questions:
--I've never had to seed tomatoes before. I checked for instructions online, and many of them go along with peeling the tomato and boiling it lightly. The one instruction that doesn't have you boiling it first has it cut in slices (akin to an orange) so it wouldn't work for this recipe. For this, should I just cut the raw tomato in half, and try to squeeze the seeds out and push them out with my finger? That's basically the root of the online instructions.
--The zucchini and the eggplant are treated the same, but the tomatoes are different in that they don't get a bottom coating of breading and don't get tomato sauce. Is that right? Why don't they get a bottom coating of breading?
--How do you serve this? Do you have them set out in sections and people just pick out which kind they want to try? Because of the topping I doubt they should be all jumbled together in a bowl!

Thank you very much for your help and patience!

The Expatriate Chef said...

To seed a tomato, just cut it in half (stem on top half, bottom on the other half) and gently squeeze out the seeds and "gel-like" stuff, leaving the ribs of the tomato and the flesh. No need to peel for this.

I like the roasted tomato bottom, so I just top the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture and cheese.

I serve it on a platter, generally. Thanks for the questions!