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Eggplant

Herbed Baby Eggplant
3 lbs small eggplants, oriental eggplant are a bit spicier than Italian eggplant 
3 tsp salt 
2 tsp minced garlic 
1/2 c olive oil 
1/3 c sherry or red wine vinegar 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, cut into shreds 

1. Remove eggplant caps and quarter. Sprinkle with salt; let drain 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. 
2. Spread pieces in a single layer on baking sheet, cut sides up. 
3. Mix garlic and oil, and drizzle over eggplants. Bake 30 minutes, until the eggplant is brown and tender. Cool slightly. 
4. Rinse basil leaves. Stack leaves and cut into thin shreds. 
5. Place eggplant in a large bowl and drizzle with vinegar, add basil shreds and toss. 

Hot or Cold Eggplant Dip 
Makes 6 servings 
1 large eggplant 
1/3 c chopped onion 
3 Tbsp olive oil 
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill 
2 tsp salt 
1 tsp black pepper
 
1. Pierce skin of eggplant in several places. Cut in half lengthwise and place on greased baking sheet. Broil 8-10 minutes, until soft. 
2. Scoop pulp from skin with a spoon and place in bowl. Add onion, olive oil, dill, salt, and pepper; blend well. Serve hot or cold with plain crackers or bread. 

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Ratatuille
Ingredients
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound small Italian eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound zucchini, cut crosswise into 1-inch sections
3 anchovy fillets, finely minced
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 dried chile
Splash balsamic vinegar

Directions
Line a large platter with paper towels. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant, season generously with salt and pepper, and let that cook down for 10 to 12 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and wilted. Remove the eggplant from the pan and onto a platter to drain. Next stop, zucchini: cook it the same way in 1/4 cup oil, then add it to the platter with the eggplant.

Add another 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan, then the anchovies, onions, garlic and herbs. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions get nice and caramelized. Add the tomatoes and cook that down for 10 to 12 minutes, until pulpy. Return the eggplant and zucchini to the pan, crack open the chile, and add that too. Season with salt and pepper and let the ratatouille cook slowly for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is soft, mushy and juicy; you want all the flavors to come together. Stir in the vinegar and let cool to room temperature.


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