Traditional eggplants, which are a member of the nightshade family, are a deep purple, egg-shaped vegetable. The Japanese variety is similar in color and taste, but grows in a long cylinder, similar to a cucumber or squash. Eggplants are generally available year round in the market with the best prices during the normal harvest season between July and September. Eggplant can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways, from stir fry to the more traditional Eggplant Parmesan.
Place 1/4 cup of lemon juice in one of the shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup flour in the second bowl and one to two beaten eggs in the third. The number of eggs you will need depends on how many eggplant slices you need to fry.
Slice the eggplants into rounds approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Use a stainless steel knife to prevent discoloring of the flesh.
Dip each slice into the lemon juice to prevent browning.
Heat approximately an inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.
Dip the eggplant slices into the beaten eggs and then in the flour. Completely cover the slice in flour.
Fry in the skillet until golden brown on both sides, turning the eggplant slices once during the frying process.
Chop onions and peppers into about 1-inch chunks. Saute the onion and peppers in oil in the bottom of a stockpot until soft and tender.
Add several cups of chopped zucchini.
Cut the eggplant into bite-sized pieces and add to the stockpot.
Add 3 cups of chopped, peeled tomatoes to the mix. Include any tomato juice created from chopping the tomatoes. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, one large can of diced tomatoes will also work.
Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes over medium low heat. Serve as a side dish to any entrée.
Fry the eggplant as listed above.
Place 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a shallow baking pan.
Place the fried eggplant slices in the dish in a single layer. Cover with spaghetti sauce and repeat.
Sprinkle the top of the dish with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 50 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
Eggplant slices can be brushed with olive oil and cooked on the grill as a side dish or as a meat substitute for a vegetarian burger.
Store fresh eggplants in a paper bag in the refrigerator and cook within three days for best flavor.