It is lovely to think that each of our regions provide what we need from season to season. This time of year, New England offers food which creates the type of meals I think of as being comforting. I’ve been making mashed potatoes, turnip casseroles, and cheesy noodles; to name a few. The most wonderful root vegetables have been popping up lately, and because I’ve never worked with many of them, I get the added bonus of experimentation.
The other day at the farmers market I found some lovely eggplants. I didn’t even know that eggplants were commonly grown in New England! And, if I had to guess I would have thought they were of the fall rather than the winter. I presume that due to our recent warmer-than-usual weather, many vegetables are still thriving which typically would be done for the year- perhaps that is the case with these purple beauties. None-the-less, I grabbed a few of them, and decided to make a bake.
I have a good deal of tomato sauce in my freezer which I cooked up at the end of the summer, and this provided a wonderful base to make a meat sauce. I began by browning some local beef and onions together in a little olive oil.
Next I sliced my eggplant very thinly, and sprinkled each slice with salt- (I’ve heard this reduces the bitter taste you can sometimes get, although I am not clear as to whether or not this practice is actually helpful).
Then I heated some butter in the pan and added my eggplant slices a few at a time- browning them on both sides. Next I simply layered the eggplant and meat sauce until my baking dish was full, and then topped the whole thing off with some Vermont cheese! After about 15mins in the oven, dinner was ready!
What winter vegetables have you been cooking with this season?