My CSA share has been very generous this summer with peppers, eggplant, and corn. Here are a few ways to use these wonderful summer vegetables.
Italian Fried Peppers
These peppers make an excellent antipasto and also go well as a side dish.
6 Italian frying (sweet banana) peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove smashed and cut in half
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.
Pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes
Heat oil and garlic in a saute pan. Lower the heat and add the whole peppers. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, salt, and crushed red pepper. Saute slowly until lightly brown on all sides. Serve at room temperature but store in the refrigerator.
For each 1 lb eggplant, you will need:
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, black pepper and dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs
Large plastic ziplock bag
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover two large baking pans with parchment paper. Spray each with cooking spray.
Peel eggplant and slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin. Put the oil in the ziplock bag and then the eggplant slices. Close the bag and shake to evenly distribute the oil.
Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking pans. Sprinkle eggplant evenly with salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the panko crumbs over the eggplant slices and spray with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reverse the pans on the oven shelves and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until golden brown. Do not let the eggplant burn or get too dark.
To assemble the casserole, you will need:
Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
2 ½ cups Marinara (pasta) sauce
8-ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
Baked eggplant slices
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon some of the sauce over the eggplant and layer with slices of mozzarella cheese. Continue layering eggplant slices, sauce and cheese until all is used. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest ten minutes before cutting.
Fresh Corn Griddle Cakes
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the griddle
3 cups freshly shucked corn kernels, from about 4 ears
1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped, or to taste
3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
Salsa or Sour Cream, for serving
Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or whisk to obtain a thick batter. Add corn kernels, jalapeño, and scallions and stir to combine.
Set griddle or large cast-iron pan over medium heat. When the griddle is hot, grease lightly with butter, using a folded paper towel or pastry brush. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Adjust heat as necessary to keep griddle cakes from browning too quickly. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve immediately as soon as griddle cakes are ready or keep warm in a low oven until all the batter is used. To serve, put 3 griddle cakes on a plate. Top with a generous spoonful of salsa or sour cream.