Mariquita Farm


Asian Eggplant

rosa bianca eggplant
Rosa Bianca Eggplant

mixed eggplants
mixed varieites of eggplant

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How to store eggplant: in a bag in the fridge.

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Eggplant Gratin "Almodrote de Berenjen" adapted from Joyce Goldstein's Sephardic Flavors

Those of you who enjoy eggplant might want to check out Joyce Goldstein's book Sephardic Flavors. It is a fascinating look at the foods and culture the Jews took with them into the Arab world when they were expelled from Spain by the Catholics in 1492.

4 pounds largish eggplants 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 slices country bread, soaked in water, and squeezed dry 4 eggs 6 ounces fresh white cheese, crumbled (such as ricotta or feta) 1/2 pound gruyere or kashkaval cheese, grated 1/3 cup sunflower or olive oil 1 to 2 teaspoons salt black pepper to taste 3 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Bake the whole eggplants on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. You can also broil them for 20 minutes, turning often. Transfer to a colander.

When cool enough to handle, strip away the skin and remove the large seed pockets. Place the pulp on a cutting board and chop coarsely. Return it to the colander and let drain for 10 to 20 minutes to release the bitter juices. You should have 2 to 2 cups pulp.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 7 x 11 baking dish. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the bread, eggs, crumbled cheese, and all but 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese, and all but 2 Tablespoons of the oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the remaining oil over the top. Bake until golden and set, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot directly from the dish.

Princess Eggplant from Julia

I got this recipe from a couple different friends when I lived in China.

2 pounds smallish white or purple eggplants
3 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch erbette chard, washed and roughly chopped (it's ok to leave water on the leaves)
1 bunch parsley or cilantro, chopped

sauce: Mix together with a bit of water:

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 Tablespoon black bean sauce

Cut the eggplants into large-ish bite-sized pieces. Cook them over high heat in the oil, after 2 minutes, add the garlic and stir often, until the eggplants are mostly cooked through. Add the chard and mix in until it's wilted some, about 1 or 2 minutes.

Add the sauce to the still-hot eggplant mixture. STIR in the parsley or cilantro just after removing from the heat, serve with rice.

Fragrant Broiled and Pureed Eggplant adapted from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider

This recipe suits any large eggplants - ones with a large proportion of flesh to skin. Season, broil until smoky and squishy, drain, and puree. Do not trim off the stems, which act as handles during preparation.

Serve as a salad course, accompanied by olives, sliced tomatoes, and breadsticks or toasted pita triangles. Or thin puree slightly to offer as a dip with raw fennel and other vegetable strips. Allow to mellow overnight before serving. Mince feathery fennel tops to sprinkle over the dip.

3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground anise, fennel or allspice
about 2 Tablespoons flavorful olive oil
2 or 3 eggplants of equal size (to total about 2.5 pounds)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ Tablespoon kosher salt
about 1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt or a smaller quantity of thick drained (‘Greek’) yogurt to taste
Black pepper or ground hot pepper to taste

1. Preheat broiler. Cut garlic into long slivers or slices. Combine in cup with coriander, cumin, anise, and 1/4 teaspoon oil; mix well. With knife tip, cut deep slits in eggplants. Holding slits open with knife, insert garlic. When garlic is used up, rub eggplants with any remaining spice mixture.

2. Place eggplants in a baking pan as far from broiling element as possible. Broil, turning once, until skin wrinkles and blackens and eggplants collapse - about 20-30 minutes, depending upon size of eggplants and type of broiler.

3. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand about 10 minutes. Holding stem of one still hot eggplant, gently remove skin with a small knife. Discard skin along with stems. Place flesh in a strainer to drain as you peel remaining eggplant (s).

4. Combine eggplant flesh, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to barely mix. Pulsing, gradually add yogurt to taste, then add remaining oil. Do not puree until smooth - some texture is nice. Scrape into a bowl. Add pepper and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate overnight. Season before serving, preferably at room temperature.

Grilled Eggplant Panini

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 1/2-inch slices eggplant (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
8 slices whole-grain bread
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
4 thin slices red onion

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Combine mayonnaise and basil in a small bowl. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush both sides of eggplant and sprinkle each slice with garlic salt. With the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, brush one side of each slice of bread.
3. Grill the eggplant for 6 minutes, turn with a spatula, top with cheese, and continue grilling until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is tender, about 4 minutes more. Toast the bread on the grill, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
4. To assemble sandwiches: Spread basil mayonnaise on four slices of bread. Top with the cheesy eggplant, red peppers, onion and the remaining slices of bread. Cut in half and serve warm. Submitted by April Stearns

One recipe from Gaby Forte in Pacific Grove: I will dice my eggplant and onions (and sweet bell peppers if I have them), and add to them walnuts and currants. Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Then bake it in the oven until the eggplant is cooked, remembering to toss them once in a while as it bakes and add little tads more of olive oil if needed. Whenever I am in a hurry I start it off on the stove, on a pan that can go straight to the oven, and finish it off there. We enjoy it on crostinis (toasted bread), alongside a giant green salad. This eggplant dish is good both hot and cold, and it makes a great sandwich for lunch on pita bread the next day. From Chef Gabriela Forte

Andrew Cohen's Eggplant Thoughts:

Hmmm. Eggplant. Although I love it when it is well done, it was not something I grew up with. I recall my Pop trying to make it and it was the greasiest, seediest thing. He muttered, and finally laughed it off, then said that concluded that experiment. In the dorm co-op I was in college I recall a few nightmares inflicted on us as well. Remember- go light with the oil.

I make a gratin with eggplant and tomatoes that is always well received. Dice up an onion and saute in oil with some S&P. Pre-heat the oven to 400F, rub a gratin dish vigorously with a garlic clove, allow to dry, then lightly oil. While the onions cook, cut eggplant into 1/2"-3/4" slices. Do the same with an equal volume of firm tomatoes. Mince a few cloves of garlic and add to the onions. When they are soft and have some color, load them into the bottom of the of the dish. Starting with eggplant, lay in a row across the dish, then lay in a row of tomatoes with at least a 50% overlap. Continue the length of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil, or brush for a more even distribution. Salt and pepper, then sprinkle with herbs. You could add basil leaves between the layers of tomato and eggplant if you wish. Laying them in will help keep them from drying out and will allow the flavor to better permeate. Otherwise, just scatter herbs such as oregano or sage over the top, and bake in the middle of the oven until the eggplant is golden and the tomatoes are melting. You could grate some cheese on if you wished, or scatter some breadcrumbs tossed in oil and seasoned in the last 10 minutes. The dish is excellent both hot or at room temp. I have even stuffed it into a sandwich (you need sturdy bread for this) with arugula and fresh mozzarella.

Tonight, after stopping by to get my box and getting some extra eggplants from Andy, I came home to experiment. There were some thumb thick eggplant that I sliced on the bias (1/4") and sprinkled with some sugar and a little salt. I got my non-stick hot, filmed the pan with grapeseed oil, then tossed the slices in. I allowed then to brown and crisp over medium-high, then turned them. Once they were colored on both sides, I lobbed in a couple spoonfuls of tapenade and then tossed to coat. I then turned the burner to high and poured in some water to come just as high as the slices. With the top off it took only a few seconds to boil off, but it succeeded in steaming the slices through and forming a sauce with the tapenade. Served as a side dish.

I also found some mushrooms that got me thinking. Took a couple medium Rosa Biancos (1 1/2#- I'm getting better about keeping the scale handy when I experiment) and lightly peeled. Sort of squared 'em off and cut into 1" cubes (roughly). Salt the eggplant pieces with around a T. of coarse salt and 2 t. sugar, and allow to sit in a non-reactive bowl. Allow to sit 15-20 minutes and then rinse, then let sit in a colander. Diced a medium onion and started sauteeing that in a couple T. of oil with S&P. Cut the mushrooms to approximately the same size. When the onions are done, transfer to a dish, add a touch of oil and start the mushrooms. Season, and when they are starting to soften and color, add in some white wine and garlic, and a T. of fresh chopped marjoram. When these are done, add to the bowl with the onions. Turn up the heat, add just enough oil to film the pan, and add the eggplant. Keep it moving to color it but not burn. Season with S&P, and if it seems the eggplant is not cooking through fast enough to keep up with the rate of browning, add a shot f the same wine as the mushrooms got. Just before the eggplant is done, add the onions and mushrooms, some freshly minced garlic, and some freshly minced marjoram. Taste- you may want to season with a little white wine vinegar. This will help to sharpen the individual flavors and bring up the contrasts between each element. I thought of varying this dish by eliminating the mushrooms and tossing in green olives and capers. The olives have a similar quality to mushrooms (the Japanese call this "umami"), and the capers would act the part of the vinegar. Serve while hot.

Calabrian Bruschetta

from Verdura by Viana La Place

4 small Asian eggplants
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces provolone or caciocavallo cheese
6 thick slices country bread
2 garlic cloves
3 red tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil

Trim the eggplants and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the eggplant slkices on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush them with olive oil. Bake the eggplant slices in a preheated 376 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over, brush with oil, and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Using the large side of a four sided grater (or a potato peeler...), grate the cheese into long, thin strips.

Grill or lightly toast the bread. Rub with the cut side of the garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil.

Place a few slices of eggplant on each bruschetta, top with some sliced tomato, and sprinkle a little shredded cheese over the top.

Place the bruschette under a preheated broiler and broil until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Layered Eggplant Casserole from Recipes from America's Small Farms

2-3 TBS vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 TBS milk
cup all purpose flour, more if needed
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into inch thick slices
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, cut into inch thick slices
4 ounces Monterey Jack or other cheese, grated
1 TBS unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 2-quart casserole. Beat the egg and milk in a bowl and spread the flour on a plate. Heat 1 TBS of the oil in large skillet. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, and then flour on both sides. Place the slices in the skillet in a single layer and fry until golden on both sides. Continue frying the eggplant in batches, adding oil as necessary, until done. Layer the fried eggplant, the onion, the tomato, and the cheese until they are all used up; the final layer should be the eggplant. Sprinkle any remaining flour (or use another 2 TBS of flour) over the top. Dot with the butter. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and the eggplant is tender. Note: instead of frying the eggplant slices, you can drizzle them with oil and bake them on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Eggplant Pulp Facts from Recipes from America's Small Farms No one ever said eggplant pulp was pretty, but it's a beautiful base for spreads and salads. To make it, just puncture a large eggplant in a few places and wrap it loosely in aluminum foil. Place it in a 400 degree oven until it's soft and mushy it's usually ready in about an hour, but longer baking won't hurt it. Let it cool completely, then scrape all the flesh off the skin. You'll get about 1 cups of pulp from a medium eggplant. Add whatever other vegetables and herbs you like the eggplant's mild taste and pleasant texture blends and binds other ingredients.

Eggplant Rounds with Cheese and Tomato Sauce adapted from D. Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

6-8 eggplant rounds per person, grilled, broiled or fried (from the skinny asian eggplants, reduce number of slices if using the large purple ones.)
3/4 cup grated or sliced mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or goat cheese
about 4 cups favorite tomato sauce
chopped parsley or basil

Place the eggplant rounds on a sheet pan and cover with the cheeses. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Serve with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the sauce on each serving and garnish with the parsley or basil.

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