Pistachio pesto brings this one to a new level.
At our parents house last week, Mom decided she wanted some eggplant. never content to leave well enough alone we decided to up the ante and add a delicious pesto variation, some fresh tomatoes from the garden, and some fresh mozzarella. The result was a delicious Italian-inspired lunch celebrating the final flavors of summer.
Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Spatula, 2 Baking Sheets, Food Processor, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, 2 Plates, Bowl, Fork
Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating
Suggested Wine Pairing: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sauvignon Blanc
Suggested Beer Pairing: Lager, Pilsner, Belgian White
- 1 large or 2 small eggplants ($1.49/lb)
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella ($6.99/lb)
- 2 C fresh basil ($3/bunch, you’ll need about 2 bunches)
- 4 eggs ($2/dozen)
- Panko bread crumbs (around $3/12 oz)
- Flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
- 1/2 C pistachios (about $8/lb)
- Parmagiano Reggiano cheese ($10/lb)
- Fresh lemon juice ($0.50/lemon)
- Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
- 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 2 TBSP water (free)
- Shell the pistachios and toss them in the food processor.
- Wash your basil and take the leaves off the stems, measure out a loosely packed 2 cups and add them to the food processor as well.
- Peel and halve the garlic cloves. For now, add only one of them to the mix. Drizzle in about 3 TBSP of olive oil and add roughly 1/4 C of cheese (you can add it in slices, small chunks or grate it). Pulse the mixture until it becomes a paste.
Don't be stingy with the oil, you want to be able to spread the pesto easily.
Ditto for the cheese. Don't be afraid to load it up.
- Add 1 TBSP lemon juice (a big lemon’s worth), a pinch of salt and about 1/2 TBSP pepper. Hit pulse a few more times and adjust the pesto to your taste with more of any of the ingredients. We like to have a bit more of the pistachio and cheese flavor.
- Wash your eggplant and slice it into 1/4 inch discs (peel the eggplant beforehand if you like for a more tender bite; we did them half and half). Place on a baking sheet and salt liberally. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the salt to draw out some of their natural bitterness.
Cut into even-sized discs for quick, even cooking.
- While the veggies are doing their osmosis thing, mix your eggs in a bowl with about 2 TBSP warm water. Pour the breadcrumbs on one plate and flour on another plate. Use about a cup of each at a time so you don’t get everything eggy all at once.
- Pat the eggplant slices dry. To coat them, dredge the pieces in flour, give them a quick dip in the eggwash, and then coat them with Panko. Return them to the baking sheet. Slice the mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices and have at the ready.
Pat the eggplant dry before you coat them.
Double coating it helps everything adhere better.
- Preheat your oven to 250° F (this is to keep the eggplant warm while you fry the other pieces). Put your frying pan over medium head and coat the bottom of the pan liberally with olive oil.
- Fry the eggplant pieces until nicely browned (about 3-4 minutes per side). Add back to the baking sheet and when a full sheet is done cover each slice with mozzarella and put them in the oven while you finish the others. Add more olive oil to the pan as required to keep things running smoothly.
- Serve with the pesto, balsamic vinegar and sliced tomatoes if desired (highly recommended).
All (well, most) of the best flavors of summer in perfect harmony.
We love August. Well, let us qualify that; we hate the heat and humidity but we love celebrating Thomas’ birthday, eating sweet corn and plowing through piles of juicy, delicious heirloom tomatoes. This recipe is basically a farmer’s market in a bowl, celebrating all the wonderful flavors that we pine for the other 10 months of the year.
Equipment Needed: Mixing Bowl, Frying Pan, Wooden Spoon, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board
Serving Suggestion: Family Style
Suggested Wine Pairing: Whatever white suits your fancy
Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Lager, Summer Ale, Heffeweizen
- 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes ($4-5/lb)
- 4 ears of sweet corn ($0.50/ear)
- 3 TBSP chopped fresh basil (we picked up some beautiful purple basil from Stokes Farm; $2/bunch)
- 3 TBSP chopped fresh mint (we used some homegrown goodness; $4/bunch)
- 3 TBSP white vinegar ($1.99/32 oz)
- 1 TBSP honey ($4/12 oz)
- Juice of 1/2 a lime (about $0.30/each, sometimes cheaper)
- Butter ($4.99/lb)
- Wash all your veggies. Place your frying pan over low heat and cut the kernels off each ear of corn. Add a small pat of butter to your pan and toss those golden little nuggets in. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, add a few pinches of salt and pepper and heat for about 5 minutes to cook things down a bit.
Mix it up a bit with some corn off the cob.
Lime juice balances the sweetness with a little citrusy goodness.
- Pull the basil and mint leaves off their stems, roll everything up and slice them thinly.
- Cut the stem and core out of your tomatoes and chop them into 1 inch cubes. Do yourself a favor and make sure you’re using a very sharp knife so you don’t squish the fruit (we have a tomato knife for just such an occasion but a sharp chefs or pairing knife will do the trick).
Scoop the seeds out if you want to, but we use the whole thing for this salad.
- Add all the veggies into your mixing bowl, throw in the vinegar, honey, season with a little salt and stir together. Serve it hot or cold (we let it sit in the fridge for an hour before diving in).
Oh puuuurple tay-ters majesty....
Little Red Frying Hood (ok, we're reaching on that one).
We’re suckers for a good impulse buy, and on a recent stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket we happened upon a pile of potatoes that screamed, “Make potato chips out of us!” How do you resist red thumb and purple majesty potatoes? These spuds are justification in themselves for buying a mandoline. The only better-looking or more delicious way to kick a meal into gear is with an underwear model.
Equipment Needed: Candy Thermometer, 5 QT Pot, Mandoline (or) Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Mixing Bowl, Fry Strainer (or) Slotted Wooden/Metal Spatula (or) Tongs, Baking Sheet, Paper Towels
Serving Suggestion: Family style (if you can keep people out of the kitchen while they cool)
Suggested Wine Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking
Suggested Beer Pairing: Whatever you’re drinking
- 2 lbs. potatoes ($.99-$2/lb, use Russets if you can’t find something fancier)
- About 2 Qts. Canola oil (around $3/48 oz)
- About 3 tbsp Dried rosemary ($4/3 oz jar)
- About 2 tbsp Garlic powder ($2/2.25 oz jar)
- About 3 tbsp Coarse sea salt (about $3/22 oz)
- Pour the canola oil into your pot and place on the stove over medium-high heat. Set the candy thermometer on the side and heat the oil to between 325°-350° F.
- Prepare your draining/cooling area by lining a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
- Wash and scrub the potatoes, removing any eyes or rotten spots. Keeping the skin on, slice the potatoes into discs about 1/16th of an inch thick. If you’re using a mandoline, be sure to use the hand guard. If you’re using a knife, count your fingers when you’re done.
Seriously, watch your fingers.
- In batches of about a handful, GENTLY, place the chips into the oil (splattering hot oil on yourself is a lesson you only need to learn once). Fry for 2 minutes, flip them if you can with your grabbing implement, and fry for another two minutes.
Slide those puppies in and watch 'em sizzle.
- Using your grabber, pull the chips out of the oil and place on the paper towels to drain. Wait for the oil to come back up to temperature and repeat.
- Make sure to flip your chips to get all of the excess oil off; once they’ve drained, throw them in a mixing bowl. Crush up the rosemary and sprinkle in with your garlic and salt. Toss everything together, seasoning to taste, and serve (hopefully to your model friend).
Toss until bursting with flavor.
Plain old ketchup will definitely do the trick if you want to dip these chips, but for some extra joie de vivre, mix a few tablespoons of mayo with a few dashes of lemon juice and hot sauce to taste.
Get hip to the dip.
How many times have you found yourself sitting at home wondering, “I wonder where I can get some fresh sunchokes and purple majesty potatoes?” Well wonder no longer my friends. We may not be the first to break the news of the site What Is Fresh? but we’re not ashamed to hop on the heap ‘o praise bandwagon. Highlighting over 40 different farmers markets across Manhattan and Brooklyn, it’s a one-stop-shop for finding out who’s got what and planning your meals around the freshest ingredients in town. Help a farmer, get choice goods, and eat deliciously. Check it soon and check it often.