With the nightshades (eggplants, peppers, tomatoes) going crazy at this abundant time of year, here are two recipes from Deborah DeBord to use them as fast as they come tumbling in. —Mi Ae
These delectable slices are equally good hot off the grill or at room temperature, either naked on their own or dressed up. This recipe calls for globe eggplants, but you can use any type of eggplant, including the slender Asian ones sliced lengthwise (these will cook faster, so pay attention that they don’t burn).
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Wash each eggplant and thinly slice off and discard the button ends.
- Slice the eggplants a bit thicker than you would for a parmesan-style prep, about ¾ inch. Firmly pat them dry. Sprinkle coarse sea salt on both sides and set the slices aside in a colander for about 15 minutes to leach out any bitterness.
- Spritz with good-tasting olive oil and sprinkle with optional finely minced fresh herbs.
- Grill the slices quickly—about 90 seconds on each side, or until tender.
- Serve hot immediately or let cool.
Interesting accompaniments might include thin-thin mozzarella slices, or a tomato slice and single basil leaf, or mango salsa, or peach chutney, or arugula dressed with vinaigrette.
Roasted High-Season Vegetable Sauce—For Now and For Later
When I make this roasted veggie sauce, I do a holy load. We sometimes pick up as many as eight bags of booty this time of year and need to use it or lose it. I freeze most of it, but I give a lot of it away as a smooth sauce. My friends’ faces light up when I walk into the gym on Mondays.
Select various combinations of veggies during the high season: zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs—whatever grows together goes together. Add wine. (We’ve purposely not listed amounts as they will depend on what you have.) Use some of the sauce now and freeze the rest later for the winter. It’s tasty as pasta and pizza sauce, on polenta, and in lasagnas and other casseroles.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place whole tomatoes on a baking sheet. Slice off the stem end of a whole head of garlic, drizzle the garlic with extra-virgin olive oil, wrap it in foil, and place it on the same baking sheet.
- Install the slicing blade on the food processor and whiz away equal amounts of other desired vegetables in batches, or slice them manually with knives if you don’t have a processor. Arrange these veggies on another baking sheet and spritz them with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Roast the tomatoes and garlic for 1 hour.
- Roast the other veggies in the same oven for 40 minutes.
- Peel the skins from the roasted tomatoes and garlic.
- Place everything in a soup pot with red wine and herbs to simmer on medium-low heat until tender and melded, about 20 minutes.
- You can leave the sauce chunky, or process into a smooth sauce.
- Serve part of the sauce now, and then freeze the rest in desired portions in labeled, tightly zippered freezer bags.
—From Picked at the Peak by Deborah DeBord, Ph.D.