I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

White Garlic Soup and Eggplant Parmesan

While flipping through the "Cooking in Spain" cookbook for my tapas meal, I came across a few different soups I really wanted to try. I love the simplicity and great flavor of Spain's soups. There aren't a lot of ingredients to many of them but they are comforting and wholesome tasting. You really get the sense that these soups helped sustain people through tough times but also were there to give an easy snack or to keep people cool on warm days.

This white garlic soup, like gazpacho, is better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours (and it's even better the next day). The flavors come together and the garlic flavor really comes through. I just used regular red grapes to add to this, but if you can find some wine grapes, I would love to hear how that flavor changes things!
The eggplant parmesan is almost as simple to make as the garlic soup. I love the flavor that parmesan cheese adds to the breading for the eggplant. I don't even need the marinara sauce on top to eat these crispy eggplant pieces, although it's good with the sauce, too.

Ajo Blanco Con Uvas
(White Garlic Soup with Grapes)
(Cooking in Spain)
3 thick slices bread, crusts removed
3/4 c. almonds, blanched and skinned
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
1/8 c. (sherry) vinegar
2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. water
muscatel grapes
I also added: season salt, coriander seed powder, paprika, and pepper.

Soak the bread in water until softened, squeeze it out and put it in blender or processor with the almonds and peeled garlic. Blend to a smooth sauce (adding a little water if necessary). Then, with the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream, then the vinegar and salt. Beat in some of the water, then pour the contents of the container into a pitcher, wooden bowl or tureen and add the remaining water. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or vinegar if necessary. serve garnished with peeled and seeded grapes. Serves 6.

Eggplant Parmesan
1 eggplant
1 or 2 eggs, beaten with a little water
3/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c. dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
marinara sauce

Peel the eggplant and then slice. Place into a colander and all sides. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse under running water and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in a bowl.
Dip each slice of eggplant first into flour, then into the egg mixture, then finally into the parmesan/breadcrumb mixture. Place each slice in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the eggplant pieces for about 6 minutes on each side. If the breading has not browned or crisped up enough, I like to turn up the oven to broil and quickly crisp that coating. Watch carefully if you do this as not to burn the eggplant! Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on each slice of eggplant and return to the oven for a minute until the cheese melts. Serve topped off with a couple of tablespoons of marinara sauce.
I love serving this with pasta topped with an alfredo sauce.


Joelen said...

Both your soup and eggplant parmesan looks wonderful! I'm intrigued by the grapes in the soup... I'll have to try that recipe since I have the ingredients on hand for it. As for the eggplant parmesan, I could eat it with no prob, but my husband isn't a fan of eggplant's texture - he's missing out!

That Girl said...

It's soup season here too - and I am so thankful for that.