Food You Can Eat: Eggplant Nightmare Sauce

First things first:  I am sick to death of eggplant.  This year’s garden looked like we weren’t going to get any yield at all in the eggplant beds because there was too much nitrogen in the soil (the indicators of which are gigantic plants with shitloads of huge leaves, but no fruit).  But, in early August, I went ahead and treated the soil with a wee bit of Ph Up from our microgreen supplier (because if the soil has too much nitrogen it washes away, making the soil too acidic) and BOOM—shitloads of eggplant.  I made eggplant parm, took a shot at moussaka, just fried it and ate it.  Eventually, I had to start giving a bunch of it away because I couldn’t keep up.  I feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump talking about all the ways his family would eat shrimp.

At least 10 of them simply went rotten.  Anyway, I was down to the last two eggplant (as well as the last sweet red pepper) and decided to try making a sauce with it.  As I’ve noted previously, I hate the texture of eggplant, so I’m not going to just eat it any old way.  It needs to be essentially invisible to me.  This turned out well enough to be the next FYCE post, but because it was an experiment, there is a dearth of images.  It’s pretty simple to make though so I’m sure smart folks like you can work through it.

A caveat before we get started:  Again, this sauce is made almost entirely from ingredients grown in our garden.  The only things that we didn’t use from our own property were the salt (because we don’t have a mine handy), pepper (because that’s a pain in the ass to grow and harvest), olive oil (because we don’t live in Italy) and mushrooms (because we don’t have that much shit on hand).  So, if you need to switch up ingredients it shouldn’t have a major impact on the result.  Red sauce is pretty forgiving—although I am not.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large (or in my case, 2 small) eggplant, peeled and grated

Olive Oil

1 large red onion, diced

1 sweet red pepper, diced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I would recommend the baby bellas)

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

Oregano (I used fresh from our plant, but you can use dried if you need to)

Thyme (same)

Basil (same—we actually process the basil into huge batches of pesto and then freeze them in ice cube trays for easy portioning, which are then stored in freezer bags.  So, in this case, I used two cubes)

Salt

Pepper

Optional:  Red wine, about 1/3 cup

Whole stewed tomatoes, chopped

Tomato sauce (Again, I used the sauce that was processed from our tomatoes, which requires further cooking down, so I don’t know the exact measurement.  Just use a large can.)

Half pint light cream

After you’ve peeled and grated the eggplant, take a clean dishtowel (but not one that you care about very much), and place all of the grated eggplant in the center.  Then, roll up the towel so the eggplant is in a ball in the middle and twist the shit out of that towel until all of the liquid is expressed.  This takes some effort, so if you are feeble from eating all that new-fangled fake meat, then ask a carnivore to help you.  Set the eggplant aside for later.

Before…
…after

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high for a few minutes.  Add onion and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms and keep stirring frequently for another 4 minutes.  At this point, you’ll notice that the bottom of the saucepan is getting a layer of dark brown on it from the veggies.  This is a feature, not a bug. If you’re planning on using the optional wine, just keep going.  (But, if you are not using the wine, then do all this cooking over medium, but not any lower than that.  That should prevent the dark layer from forming.)  Add the eggplant and keep stirring frequently for another 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and keep stirring frequently for another 2 minutes. 

By this time, you should have a fairly thick and dark layer of black shit on the bottom of the pan.  Now you’ll need to deglaze the pan which is just Fancy Chef Speak for pouring in the optional wine and using a wooden spoon to scrape up the black layer from the pan.  It should take about half a minute for all of the wine to boil off, by which point most of the dark layer should have been scraped away.  Immediately after the wine has boiled off, add the chopped tomatoes and the sauce so you don’t get a new layer of dark shit on the pan because all that wine is gone (well, except for what is left in your Strategic Reserve).

Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes to let all the flavors merge together and for the sauce to thicken a bit.  Then add the half pint of light cream and turn off the heat.

Doesn’t look like much–but it’s pretty kick ass.

Ladle sauce on pasta of your choice, top with freshly grated Romano cheese, and serve with a salad.

I’m not planting eggplant in the next garden.

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About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 565 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.

14 Comments

  1.  

    And there it is, a classic butcher recipe!

    •         Red sauce is pretty forgiving—although I am not.
    •        …if you are feeble from eating all that new-fangled fake meat, then ask a carnivore to help you.
    •          This is a feature, not a bug.
    •          I’m not planting eggplant in the next garden.

    It looks delish, although I may be too weak to make it 😊. I’ll add eggplant to the next CSA and give it a try.

  2. I should remember to add cream more often to the red sauces I make. Have you ever made a crab or lobster bisque? If you make it creamy enough you can pour it over rare or medium-rare beef, because you’ve never heard the term “dangerously high cholesterol level.”

  3. I’m sure it’s as good as any eggplant dish can be after you’ve worked your butcher magic on it. Still a hard pass from me because, it’s EGGPLANT!

  4. Yum. I’m into this. I debate between making it creamy, or leaving off the cream and making it spicy. 
     
    Side note, I’ve always deglazed with broth or vinegar (not that I’d use vinegar in a tomato sauce though) and it generally works fine. Supposedly what I’ve heard is that acidity helps the process, but just adding cold liquid to a hot pan tends to deglaze it. 

  5. I’m really proud of you for refusing to plant eggplant in the garden this year. It’s the best way to avoid dealing with eggplant. 

    I’m in the same boat as @hannibal… I do everything possible to avoid eggplant. I’ve had it several ways and it’s just never good. Plenty of other vegetables to eat. 

    Same reason I avoid chard like the plague. 

    • People on have such funny food aversions. First I heard about avocado, then eggplant, now chard? That might make a good NOT: Tell us about your food aversions (not because of allergies or religious convictions.) I’m an omnivore so I wouldn’t be a good host. My response to everyone would be “Not X? Are you crazy?” Although I will say I’m one of those people to whom cilantro tastes—not exactly like dishwater, just extremely unpleasant. 

      • I’m into all three of those, but I was such a picky eater when I was young that I sympathize with food aversions. Avocado texture is pretty objectively weird, and if you don’t have a perfectly ripe one, it doesn’t taste like much. Eggplant and chard are both a little bitter, plus eggplant texture can be unpleasant depending on how it’s prepared (I generally only slice it thin and pan fry it).
         
        I wonder if anyone around here knows if they’re a super taster? One of the major indicators is an aversion to anything even mildly bitter, like broccoli, greens, etc along with tea and coffee. 

      • Oh I love avocado! I ate one with dinner. 

        Chard just tastes like dirt to me. I will eat collards, spinach, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens (begrudgingly, I am not a fan but they aren’t as bad as chard), cabbage, callaloo, etc.

        I just think chard doesn’t taste good. 

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