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Aubergines-Fuel For The Brain

By: Samantha Hekeler - My taste buds fell in love with the variety of dishes, both hot and cold, created using aubergines while vacationing in France a few years ago.  Until then, I had only enjoyed them true to my Italian heritage as eggplant parmesan.  As delicious as it may be, I much more enjoyed the fresh taste of a more simple and basic presentation without all of the heavy breading and frying. 

 

Aubergines are spongy and take much longer to sauté than a yellow squash or zucchini, but I find their taste worth the extra work.  Late summer, around August, through early October is when aubergines are in season, although they can be purchased year round in most grocery stores.  Used in culinary creations most often as a vegetable, the aubergine is actually a berry that is native to South-East Asia.  Today, aubergines are grown all over the world.  Their vivid deep purple glossy skin and pear shape body is another example of mother nature's artistry.  They are a good source of fiber and are packed with vitamins that are said to support brain function and cardiovascular health in promoting better blood flow and reducing cholesterol. 

When selecting aubergines you should look for ones that are firm and heavy for their size.  They are a vulnerable and perishable food that should be stored around fifty degrees Fahrenheit, and not slice until actually cooking to prevent browning. 

Here is a recipe for preparing aubergines that can be served as a side dish or a meal.  Because sautéing aubergines takes patience and time, I suggest planning ahead and making a lot at once.  This recipe will store well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or can be cooled before properly jarring and enjoyed all winter long. 

Aubergines and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

·         2-4 medium sized Aubergines sliced thinly

·         6 medium organic vine tomatoes (half for dicing / half for puree)

·         1/8 cup finely chopped onion

·         Fresh basil diced - about 1/8 cup)

·         Fresh Parmesan (optional)

·         Olive Oil

Preparation:

§  Two skillets needed

§  In first skillet heat oil on medium and reduce to low before adding aubergine slices.  Turning until softened and slightly golden, about 15 minutes.  They will begin to look like soft chips.

§  In second skillet, add teaspoon of olive oil and onion, sauté until golden and soft.  Add tomato puree, diced tomatoes and basil  and heat until warm.

§  Spoon and mix the heated aubergines in to the tomatoes and simmer low for 3-5 minutes.

§  Plate desired amount and sprinkle with fresh parmesan

 

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