Take Advantage Of September's Bounty With Squash and Eggplant - 27 East

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Take Advantage Of September’s Bounty With Squash and Eggplant

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Egglplant casserole.

Egglplant casserole. JANEEN SARLIN

Zoodle with shrimp.

Zoodle with shrimp. JANEEN SARLIN


Seasonal Chef

  • Publication: Food & Drink
  • Published on: Sep 6, 2019
  • Columnist: Janeen Sarlin

Two beautiful September harvest vegetables are the stars of this week’s column. If your schedule is as full as mine, a vegetable based dinner works very well. Zucchini and yellow squash “zoodles” with sautéed vegetables and shrimp is easy, quick, and fancy enough for dinner guests. This eggplant casserole is the perfect one-dish dinner for a busy workweek and it comes with the bonus of fewer dishes to clean up.Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, it is thought to be a vegetable, but it actually is a fruit, specifically a berry. When choosing eggplant, look for unblemished smooth skinned purple globes that feel heavy for its size. If the pulp of the eggplant looks green, sprinkle salt over the slices and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry before proceeding with the recipe. About one cup of raw eggplant equals 21 calories and contains a good amount of potassium and vitamin C.

When choosing zucchini and yellow squash, look for unblemished smooth skinned squash that have a vibrant color for its variety and are no larger than one-and-a-half to three-quarters inches in diameter (to fit into a zoodle maker.) “Zoodles” are also available in the produce section at some grocery stores. Note, about one cup of raw zucchini equals about 16 calories and both varieties of squash contain a good amount of potassium, vitamin A and folic acid. Why not try both recipes this week? Bon appetit!

Squash Zoodles and Shrimp Scampi with Cremini Mushrooms(Serves 4)20 raw large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails intact

4 to 6 large cloves garlic, chopped

Olive oil for sautéeing (both shrimp and vegetables)

Red pepper flakes to taste

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 medium poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced

3 medium zucchini (about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter) scrubbed and trimmed

2 medium yellow squash (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter) scrubbed and trimmed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil, cut into chiffonade (about 4 tablespoonful)

Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, about 1/3 cup or more to tasteTo prepare:Devein shrimp, wash under cold running water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.

Meanwhile in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, add about two tablespoons oil and all the garlic. Watch carefully and sauté the garlic until it is golden brown. Immediately pour the garlic and oil into a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl and reserve.

Return half of the garlic seasoned oil to the skillet over high heat, add shrimp and sauté until they turn from translucent to opaque on the inside, look red and light brown on both sides. Season with black pepper and red pepper flakes. With a slotted spoon, lift shrimp out and transfer to a paper towel lined plate and reserve.

Add the remaining garlic seasoned oil to the skillet over moderate high heat. Add onion, pepper, and mushrooms and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, “run or turn” the zucchini and yellow squash through the zoodle maker onto a platter or bowl (if making your own).

Add squash “zoodles” to the skillet, adding more oil only if necessary and sauté until the squash is tender. Add salt, pepper, and basil. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasonings.

Just before serving, add shrimp to the skillet, toss to reheat and garnish with reserved sautéed garlic and chiffonade of basil. Spoon onto warm dinner plates and pass the Parmesan cheese at the table.Eggplant Casserole Adapted from Judy Aufenthie

(Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as main course)1 medium purple eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sicilian Sea salt with organic garlic to taste

About 2 teaspoons herbs (Basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano 1/2 teaspoon each)

6 large white mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 medium green pepper, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or more to taste

1 1/2 cup good quality tomato sauce or more if necessary

Optional: about 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine

About 4 to 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

About 4 to 6 ounces shredded Locatelli and/or Parmesan cheese

8 to 10 basil leaves cut into chiffonade for garnishTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle oil on the paper. If necessary, salt the eggplant and let stand for 20 minutes, drain, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the slices of eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs, drizzle a few drops of oil over the whole affair. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the slices over. Return the pan to the oven and bake until eggplant is tender but still intact and light brown on the edges, about eight to nine minutes. Reserve until assembly.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. In a dry skillet over high heat, cook the sliced mushrooms until tender and the juices have evaporated. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

In the same skillet over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with oil, add onion and green pepper and sauté until beginning to soften. Add garlic, and sauté until aromatic. Return the reserved mushrooms to the skillet with the vegetables, add red wine and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until sauce is somewhat thick. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust the seasonings.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil the bottom of a shallow baking dish that will hold half of the eggplant in one layer. Spoon about one-third of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Arrange reserved eggplant slices on the sauce; scatter half of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on the eggplant, spoon one-third of the sauce over the cheese. Layer the remaining eggplant, remaining sauce and scatter cheese on top. Bake in the center of the oven until the cheese is bubbly and the top is light brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Scatter freshly cut basil chiffonade on top and let sit about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir.

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