Summer is officially over, but the “fruits” of the harvest make for some really fabulous fall dishes. Flavorful baked eggplant with lots of tomatoes and cheese (yum!) along with delicious spicy corn soup feel like a wonderful way to use summer’s bounty to take the edge off of autumn’s chill.
No-Fry Neapolitan Eggplant Parmesan
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 5 1-lb. globe eggplants (or equivalent of other variety)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 3 pieces
- 8 ounces smoked provolone, smoked mozzarella, or smoked scamorza cheese, shredded (2 cups), divided
- 2 ounces finely grated parmesan cheese, (1 cup) divided
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees, with racks in the upper- and lower-middle position. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with 2 tablespoons oil each.
- Remove half of the skin from each eggplant. To do this, using a vegetable peeler and working from top to bottom, peel off strips of skin about 1 inch apart. Cut the eggplants crosswise into ¼-inch thick rounds, then arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, slightly overlapping.
- Brush the eggplant with 2 tablespoons of oil, then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast until the slices are spottily browned, the edges are slightly crisped and the moisture has cooked off, 35-40 minutes; halfway through, use a wide metal spatula to flip the slices, then switch the positions of the baking sheets for even roasting. Remove from the oven; leave the oven on.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-low, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, butter, ½ teaspoon pepper and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Measure 1 cup of the tomato sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread to cover the bottom. Arrange one-third of the eggplant on top of the tomato sauce, overlapping the slices if needed, then sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the provolone, ¼ cup of the parmesan and about half of the basil. Spoon on another ¾ cup of tomato sauce and spread evenly. Layer on half of the remaining eggplant, followed by the remaining provolone, ¼ cup of parmesan, and the remaining basil. Spoon on another ¾ cup of sauce and layer on the remaining eggplant. Cover with the remaining sauce, spreading evenly, then sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.
- Bake on the lower rack until the edges are bubbling and the cheese is melted, 15-20 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Cook’s Note: Both the initial roasting of the eggplant, and the cooking of the tomato sauce can be done a day or two ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to assemble and bake the dish. You can also add other vegetables if you have them. Just sprinkle over the sauce layer.
Indian-Spiced Corn Soup with Yogurt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon each of turmeric, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds*
- Pinch of cayenne (to taste)
- 3-4 cups corn kernels, from 5-6 ears of corn
- 4 cups water (or corn stock)*
- Salt and pepper
- Plain yogurt, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives for garnish
- A few cilantro sprigs, for garnish
- Lime wedges, for garnish, optional
- Put butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds and cayenne and sizzle for a minute or so.
- Add corn kernels and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Puree soup in a blender. Check seasoning and adjust salt.
- To serve, ladle into small bowls. Garnish each with 2 tablespoons thick yogurt. Sprinkle with chives and cilantro sprigs. Add a squeeze of lime. Makes 4-6 servings.
*Cook’s Note: Market Master Barbara tested this recipe and made these adaptations. Instead of the turmeric, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds, you can use 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder. To make the soup richer, use a combination of corn stock and water. To make corn stock, use the cobs you cut the kernels, cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary to make 4 cups.