I don’t think there is any vegetable that is more versatile than eggplant. It is probably the perfect choice when making a vegetarian entrée because it has endless possibilities when it comes to appetizers (bruschetta, dips), snacks (patties) and even salads. Like mushrooms (as I wrote in a past blog), eggplants come in many styles, ranging from the long Chinese variety to the speckled Spanish kind alongside the more traditional large purple one we commonly used to prepare eggplant parmesan.
There is nary a cookbook that I open these days that does not include a recipe with that vegetable, which in some countries is called aubergines. Recently, I discovered a Spanish salad that is a bit labor-intensive (you have to sauté it and then blend it with various other legumes) but that yields a very flavorful and yummy dish that can also be served as a light meatless main course.
During one of my brief vegetarian phases (I had two so far, but it never really got real thanks to my love for seafood) I discovered a great recipe for eggplant patties, which is basically a different take on the classic veggie burger. The difference is that these don’t try to pretend they are something else: it flavor is there, it doesn’t seem to apologize for the absent meat.
Like with most dishes made with eggplant, you do have to put a bit of work towards it (unlike with, say, black bean burgers) but in the end it will be satisfying.
1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Put the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for about 30 minutes to allow juices to run.
- Wash and drain eggplant. Sautee the garlic in 1 tbsp. olive oil until fragrant and add eggplant, stir until softened.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Mash or process eggplant saute and mix in beaten egg, salt and pepper and breadcrumbs.
- When cool enough to handle, form patties (if they are too soft, add some more breadcrumbs) and pan-fry until browned
- Serve in bun or with a side salad.