Eggplant and broccoli rabe

A healthy “baked, not fried” crispy dish!

Here’s a few recipes that don’t kill me for time.  But still… a lot of work.  Look at the pics first.  You gotta WANT it. (Don’t miss my YouTube link to the garlic tool. Huge timesaver.)

Portobello added as an experiment.

Insofar as your broc rabe is concerned, besides the basics like: buy A LOT (4 bunches), fresh & green & firm, washed well, cut some stems, etc. the main thing is, cook it slowly! There ain’t much to the recipe. It’s just a bit of EVO, and a S__T-TON of garlic. I spice it up w/some various EYE-talian favorites, like oregano, thyme, Himalayan salt, & ground black pepper. I might shake a blessing of crushed red over it, but so little, it’s like a joke.

But it’s the heat setting that really makes a difference. The food in this pic turned out tender, delicious… not all tough and nasty like you get sometimes in the prepared section of Whole Foods. I used to cut off almost ALL the stems when I cooked this @ home, cause I was convinced stems = BAD. Whole Foods was putting out such LOUSY prepared broc rabe, for so long, that I forgot (for a second) that the stems can be anything but tough, dry and disgusting. Now I only chop off about 2″. Sautee’ it slowly – stems are delicious. Leave some leaves too!!!

You don’t need cups and cups of oil either! I didn’t kill this w/EVO; it’s not an oily mess. There’s just enough to coat it all. Now the garlic, well, that’s epic. About a cluster and a half. If I had to guess, maybe 25-30 cloves counting the tiny ones. Heat the oil first, then add the chopped garlic. (Check out this garlic tool, it ROCKS: If it sizzles loudly when it hits the pan, turn the heat down. Don’t overly brown it, trust me. So just get it cooking in there very quietly, just a little sizzle.

Now you do your seasonings, but WAIT on the salt. Salt has a tendency to break down the cellulose of plant fibres, so I wait to add salt until the dish is cooked about 1/2 way thru. A sprinkle-sprinkle here, a sprinkle there. Don’t be afraid to put a very light but full coating of whatever spices you’re using. When the garlic starts to look like it’s cooking, add the broccoli rabe, cover and, LOW heat… you wanna juuuuust barely be able to hear it cooking. Toss about every 5 mins or so. Now granted, this ain’t good if you got a hungry mob waiting on you. It takes longer but it better preserves the taste and texture of the vegetable, while still cooking it thru. Frequently on my GE electric range, the lowest setting on a large burner will keep things simmering or sizzling. I cooked it for maybe 25 minutes on low like that, turning about every five minutes. I then shut the heat down but left it on the hot burner to finish.

Now for the eggplant, sonny… I guess bad news first: There’s no way I’m gonna skip the cut-and-sweat step. So if that’s a dealbreaker better get out now! LOL

So you put down a kitchen towel, lay out your slices and go easy with the knife. Make fast, light “claw marks” in middles of the eggplants. Don’t go too slow or too hard. Sprinkle Himalayan salt. Another towel to cover the slices, and then lay something like this board over. Then pile on: cast iron… whatever’s handy.

And in about three-four hours, they really do release a lot of moisture:

The top towel was just as wet. I like thin slices, which takes even more time. But getting down to it, here’s what I do:

Mix unsweet coconut milk (room temp but don’t warm too much) with some milled or finely ground flaxseed. This is your egg substitute. Put about an inch of coco milk in a little saucepan, and turn off the heat almost as soon as you turn it on. All you wanna do is take the chill off, not warm it. Toss in about 1/2 a cup of flax, stir well. After awhile you’ll see if you have the right mixture. It should be mostly watery, only a little gooey. If it gets too icky-sticky it’s gross. Don’t warm your coconut milk or it’ll turn to glue w/the flax! And after you coat your eggplants with the milk, then just double-dip in your favorite breadcrumbs. All I had this time was plain/unseasoned breadcrumbs, so I added my own Italian seasonings, and Nooch. (nutritional yeast) I do NOT coat the eggplant with flour or corn starch. It’s an additional step I have no patience for, and if you’re not frying it, it’s gross.

So then grab yourself a high quality sauce in a jar, something organic, (maybe w/basil?) and when your first discs are all breaded and situated on your baking sheet, do a nice big lovin’ spoonful of marinara in the center of each one. And I also added some chopped portobello mushroom. But not a whole lot. Then bread your second round of discs, and hopefully everything will be kind of even numbered, and you will have mostly double stacks, like in my picture. And you will have a few solos. So then I smack their crowns (the double stacks) again with more red sauce, and bake on the PIZZA setting of my toaster oven @ 350° for maybe 40 mins.

Ready for the toaster oven!

And I’ll talk a little bit about HEAT here. (Scoville heat) My daughter won’t eat this if I make it with long hots or anything like that. And I don’t have long hots anyway. So what I do is, I wait till I’m sitting down to eat, and then I customize each sammy with some of pappy’s minced up garden fresh pappy-peppers, which just happen to be Scorpion, Carolina Reaper and long thin cayenne at the moment.

And lemme tellya Sportfans, it’s WORTH IT. I never ate so much dang whitebread as in the last few days! Plowin’ down baked eggplant and broccoli rabe sengwitches on stupid, scoopid soft rolls!!! (IMHO it’s best if thou scoopid)

Yes that’s right! I HACKED THE GOODNESS even further: added arugula, avocado mayo, a drizzle of EVO, (and I mean a PROFESSIONAL drizzle using a glass stirrir y’all) lemon pepper and Nooch.


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