Roasted eggplant with tomato stuffing

Eggplants are popping out in northeast CSA shares this week.  And farmer’s markets are crawling with tomatoes.  Thus this seems like the perfect dish to try this week.  It can easily fly solo as a vegetarian main course, or be served as a hearty side to a simple sausage or chicken breast.  You can add or subtract as many veggies as you like to the stuffing- for instance collard greens would go great as would broccoli, green peppers, or even butternut squash.  Go ahead and get creative with your favorite flavors!

1 small eggplant, halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 small onion, sliced

4 oz. cremini mushrooms, cubed

1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 small carrot, quartered and sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tomato cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  • Place eggplant halves in a 9×9 pan, cut sides up. Sprinkle each half with about 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a small skillet over a medium heat, sauté the onions, mushrooms, zucchini and carrot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until onions begin to be translucent, about five minutes
  • Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the tomato, basil, and remaining salt
  • Pile the mixture on top of the eggplant halves and drizzle the remaining olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the foil and bake until eggplants are soft and tender, uncovered, for about 20 more minutes

We opted to have chicken sausages for our protein with this dish so I added them to the baking dish at the point where I removed the foil and baked for 20 more minutes (as my sausages were pre-cooked).

This recipe was inspired by this post and tweaked by me.

J

Paella

I will admit to being a bit apprehensive about attempting paella.  This dish is so rich in tradition and is thought of by many as the national dish of Spain for goodness sakes.  With the list of expensive ingredients (and I did an abridged version) I did not want to have the creation from hell (yes this has happened in my kitchen before) on my hands.  I can honestly say that my anxieties were for not.  The dish really comes together on its own- all the cook really does is add the ingredients at various stages and watch it happen.  The flavor profile is fantastic- sweet peas and creamy rice, acidic tomatoes, savory saffron.  This one is definitely worth your time.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 Spanish chorizo

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Spanish onion, diced

1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed

1 cup Spanish rice, short to medium grain

1 teaspoon saffron threads

3 cups water, warm

12-16 large shrimp, peeled

1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed

Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish

Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:

  • Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry, then cut into cubes
  • Mix the oregano and paprika with salt and pepper in a small bowl
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the pieces of chicken; marinate for 30 minutes or more
  • Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or wide skillet over a medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, and brown
  • Add the chorizo and continue to for 5 minutes (you will see the sausage begin to brown)
  • Remove the chicken and sausage to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil

  • Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium
  • Make a sofrito by sauteing the garlic, onion, and tomatoes until the mixture caramelizes a bit; season with salt & pepper

  • Add the rice, stirring to coat the grains

  • Stir the saffron into the rice. Pour in the water and simmer for 10 minutes (do not cover)
  • Add the reserved chicken and chorizo. Give the paella a couple of good stirs to coat all of the pieces and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes
  • Scatter the peas & shrimp on top and continue to cook for 5 minutes

  • Allow to rest, off of heat for 5 minutes

  • Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges

This recipe was adapted from one by Tyler Florence.  I made my version a bit lighter and less heavy on the seafood.

J

Farfalle with Tomatoes, Basil and Hot Italian Sausage

That’s right, I said sausage.  And not those greasy pork sausages either.  Nice, lean chicken sausages.  Still packed with flavor, but literally half of the fat (8 g versus 16).  Imagine the spicy and salty flavor of the sausage with the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, and the zestiness of the lemon, balanced with the mild basil and you’ve got a very tasty dish to fancy!

Ingredients:

3/4 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3  hot Italian chicken sausages

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 bunch basil, torn

1 pound cherry , halved

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente
  • Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet. Brown the sausages, then slice into coins
  • Add garlic and cook until sausage is cooked through, just another minute or so

  • Toss cooked sausage with pasta, a bit of olive oil, torn basil, tomatoes, cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Serve warm

I believe that this would also make for a fantastic cold pasta salad.

Inspired by this post by Whole Foods Market.