The KCET Food Recipe Contest: Eggplant!

Photos by A. Rios/R.E.The contest is now closed. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 29!

Are you ready for the summer produce season?

Are you ready to put your best eggplant recipe to the test?

Join KCET Food in celebrating the gorgeous nightshade that grows so well in Southland summers by sharing a recipe that highlights eggplant's rich, earthy flavor. The vegetable is bountiful at Southern California farmers' market now and for the next couple of months (the specimens in the photos are from the Malibu and Palisades farmers' markets), so buy local if you're able!

The creator of our very favorite recipe will win a gift basket full of foods made in Southern California, including:

  • A jar each of Champagne Garlic and Hong Kong Habanero mustards from San Diego's Sono Trading Company

  • Three different chocolate brittles (with ingredients like bourbon and smoked salt and herbes de Provence) from Morning Glory Confections in L.A.

  • A selection of gluten-free protein bars from Culver City's Papa Steve's Bars.

  • Cascabel sauce, Red Mole, and Black Mole from San Angel Mole in L.A.

  • A set of summery salts and spices from Spice Station in L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood.
No recipe is too simple or too complicated; as long as eggplant is a primary ingredient, it's a contender. Just be sure to submit the recipe by 3 p.m. on Friday, June 22, 2012.

Leave it in the comments section below or email it to
Living editor Katherine Spiers
by the deadline. We'll spend the week cooking and tasting every submission, and the winner will be announced at noon on June 29.

Happy cooking!

Eat better by following KCET Food on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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this is a perfect dish to use up all of your summer crops...
eggplants 'n spaghets
larisa code

ingredients
4 medium sized eggplant
roma tomatoes cooked down to 14 oz/1 can tomatoes
1 onion
2 garlic cloves or more...chopped up
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of fresh marjoram or oregano chopped finely
1/2 cup pitted black olives (sliced or not)
1 green, red, yellow or purple bell pepper seeds removed, cored and chopped
6 oz of spaghetti
1 cup of grated parmesan/romano mix or parmesan alone
salt and pepper
fresh oregano or parsley to garnish
4 cups of bulk italian sausage (not in the casing)
preheat oven to 400'F
slice the eggplants in rounds, salt and press for 1/2 hour or until liquid forms on the flesh of the vegetable
pad off the eggplant slices
heat some olive oil in a pan and brown the eggplant on both sides
drain on paper towels
add the sausage, onion and garlic in a seperate pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until browned. add tomato paste and tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, marjoram and salt and pepper. simmer for 10 minutes, stirring off and on. add the olives and bell pepper and cook for another 10 minutes.
cook the pasta in salted water with olive oil added (about a tbsp.) until tender but not completely cooked through. drain the spaghetti and put in a bowl. add the sauce and cheese and mix well, so all of the pasta is covered in sauce.
brush an 8 inch cake pan with olive oil,
arrange the eggplant slices over the base and up the sides of the pan. add the spaghetti and then cover the top with eggplant, if you have extra slices, double it up...it is worth it!
cook for 40 minutes
let the dish stand for 5 minutes
then invert onto a serving dish.
add fresh parsley or oregano to garnish...even better the second day!!!


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Pickled Eggplant Relish:
1 lg. eggplant - peeled & diced fine
2 celery ribs - diced fine
3 cloves garlic - grated
1 tbsp. dried hot chili flakes
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 small red or sweet onion - diced
8 Spanish olives - chopped
White Vinegar
Olive Oil
Combine 2 c. white vinegar, 2 c. water, & salt - bring to boil - Remove from heat - Add eggplant and place plate on top with weight - let stand until cool (6-8 hours) - drain and squeeze well - place in 1 qt. canning jar - add other ingredients - cover with olive oil - cap and let stand a few days to marinate - refrigerate after opening - use as relish or sandwich condiment.

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I can't officially enter as a KCET employee, but still wanted to submit my overly simple recipe for fun!


Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini


Ingredients

  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini
  • Olive Oil
  • Freshly-cracked peppercorn
  • Sea Salt
  • Chili Flakes

Directions

  • Brush olive oil onto both sides of eggplant and zucchini.
  • Grill eggplant and zucchini on both sides until hot and tender. Grill marks are encouraged!
  • Remove from grill onto a plate and spice to taste.

Serve as a side.