Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Taste: Eggplant Parmagiana

From December 2010 (?) Martha Stewart Living

Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. Serves 8

For Breading and Frying:
2 cups fine plain fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed

For Assembling:
Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
3 cups coarsley grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

1. Bread and fry the eggplant: Combine breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Put flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in 3 separate dishes. Dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (Oil is ready when a breadcrumb sizzles when dropped in.) Working in batches, fry eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. (If oil gets too dirty, discard, and heat additional 1/4 cup.)
3. Assemble the dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant on top, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano. Repeat twice to form layers with eggplant, sauce, then cheeses. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes more.

Marinara Sauce:
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cans (28-oz each) peeled whole tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, red-pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Simmer, covered, until thick, 25 minutes. Stir in herbs.

Thoughts: Quite a bit of prep involved, but all really doable to prep a day or two in advance. I'm never quite together enough to make the marinara and rely on my favorite Cento-brand jarred stuff. This dish could not be more comforting after a blizzardy day in New England.

Good Taste: Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp

From June 2005 Cooking Light

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 36 shrimp)
2 cups water
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 1/4 cups uncooked long-grain rice
3/4 cup shredded carrot
2 cups diced peeled mango (about 2 mangoes)
1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
Cilantro Sprigs (optional)

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, toss to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour.
2. Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; add rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add carrot and next 7 ingredients (through salt); toss gently to combine.
3. Prepare grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
4. Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 12 (6-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack or grill pan coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done. Serve skewers over salad. Garnish with cilantro springs, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Thoughts: The rice is crazy good--so light, fresh, full of flavor. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Good Taste: Lloyd Family Pizza Party

Along with so many other families in the world, on Friday night, we Lloyds enjoy a pizza party. I prefer the classic pizza crust recipe from Joy of Cooking and improvised variations on this pizza sauce recipe. I've been shaking things up lately, and am here to report on our most recent pizza night successes (both recipes were rapidly made, with effortless prep work, and they were rapidly consumed by all four of us!).

First, from August 2005 Bon Appetit:

Bell Pepper, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza

1 pound of pizza dough
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
3 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups thickly sliced mushrooms (we love cremini)
1/2 cup drained roasted red peppers from jar, cut into thin strips
1 /2 cup paper-thin red onion slices
8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1 5-oz package soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pizza crust on large baking sheet. Mix olive oil and minced garlic in small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush 2 tablespoons garlic oil evenly over crust. Top with spinach leaves, then sprinkle with sliced mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onion slices, fresh basil, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle pizza evenly with remaining garlic oil. Cook 15 minutes.

Thoughts: I added the 15 minutes instructions at the end--I guess it's best to keep an eye on it. The recipe doesn't really say. This is the pizza for chevre junkies like us, especially since we seem to always have a little stash around, so I didn't end up buying anything extra to make it (I only dreamed of putting fresh basil leaves on top...ah, winter).

From November 2008 Real Simple

Three-Cheese Calzones

1 pound of pizza dough
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmasan
1 bunch spinahc, thick stems removed and roughly chopped (5 cups)
Black Pepper
1/4 pound thinly sliced salami (we used pepperoni)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup jarred marinara sauce, warmed

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll and stretch them into 8-inch rounds.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
3. Layer salami on one side of each round of dough, and top with the cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal.
4. Brush the tops of the calzones with the oil. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with the sauce.

Thoughts: Good. For some reason, this recipe screams teenage boys to me. Better keep it handy for later.