Eggplants are in abundance right now, here and abroad but especially in Middle Eastern Countries where one can find lots of Turkish dishes and Israeli recipes using eggplant. I made an Italian dish this time. But if you want a traditional Israel/Middle Eastern eggplant dish- try roasting eggplants with red peppers-2 roasted eggplants, scoop the flesh out, add 2 cloves roasted garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt with 2-3 roasted sweet red peppers to the eggplant flesh. (from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur). That’s next on the menu.
I made and adapted a recipe (meaning I did not add as much basil or oregano) from Jamie Oliver’s Eggplant Parmesan. It’s fast to assemble and pretty tasty.
Here is the recipe:
Serves 4 or 5 as a main-course
3 medium-large eggplants, cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 28-ounce can no-salt plum tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves (or not)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or as needed
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, optional
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil, and place in a single layer on two or more baking sheets. Bake until undersides are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, then turn and bake until other sides are lightly browned. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add onion. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and dried oregano and sauté another 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and their juices, breaking up whole tomatoes with your hands. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add vinegar, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Into a 9-by-9-inch, 10-by-5-inch or 10-by-6-inch baking pan, spoon a small amount of tomato sauce, then add a thin scattering of parmigiano, then a single layer of eggplant. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ending with a little sauce and a sprinkling of parmigiano. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and oregano, if using, with just enough olive oil to moisten. Sprinkle on top. If desired, recipe can be made to this point and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
4. Bake until eggplant mixture is bubbly and center is hot, 30 to 45 minutes depending on size of pan and thickness of layers. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Recipe can also be reheated.
Just as a reminder, these recent posts are about observing the Jewish Shabbat as a Christian family and how we live that out each Friday. I also continue to write about international foods as this is a food blog. Currently, I am learning to cook Middle Eastern, and Israeli foods. Let’s see how all this intersects as I work through a new tradition/observance with my Christ-walk, while at the same time, sharing food and blessing around the table with friends and family.
Right now, our family received some eggplants from friends- and what a treat. We are glad to have people around us who share their bounty with us. In the south- we often say “it’s a real blessing, or we sure have been blessed.” Blessings are good- it’s just a way to acknowledge good things happening. Shabbat and Sunday’s are also good days to remember blessings.
If you are observing the Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath Rest) this Friday- one thing I like to do to get ready for Shabbat- Sabbath- is I like to set the table with my best china, get special wine glasses out and get the candles ready for lighting. It’s an evening set apart from other evenings. I try a little harder to do special things or say special sayings. I am learning to memorize in Hebrew the Candle lighting blessing. It’s hard but I think I have it memorized after 8 months. (see below for blessing).
In my local church on Sunday, at the closing of service, the light from the candles on the altar/table in Christian worship is the light of Christ and we figuratively take that light out into the world. It means in a nutshell, we are called to be lights/blessings to others. Usually what follows is a Sunday luncheon and many times in our family we use this as our blessing – “Come Lord Jesus, Be our Guest, May all these Gifts to us be blessed. Blessed is God who is our Bread, May all the World be clothed and fed.”
If you are interested in an interfaith collection of table blessings check this out: Interfaith Collection of Blessings
Shabbat Shalom- Peace be with you.
- Extend your hand over the candles, draw them inwards three times in a circular motion, and then cover your eyes.
- Say the blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אַדֹנָ-י אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ
Transliteration: Baruch a-ta A-do-nay Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam a-sher ki-di-sha-nu bi-mitz-vo-tav vi-tzi-va-noo li-had-leek ner shel Sha-bat ko-desh.
Translation: Blessed are you, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the Holy Shabbat.