White eggplant recipe, with chicken, penne pasta and freshly picked red garden tomatoes!
The tomatoes are left uncooked in this recipe.
The story behind eggplant.
How did eggplant get its name?
The story goes, long ago, white eggplant hung on plants and looked like goose eggs.
In medieval Latin, the eggplant was called melongena, reinterpreted in Italian as mela insana, and translated into English as mad apple.
Eggplant is a healthy food choice. It's low in fat and carbohydrates.
White eggplant freshly picked!
Timeline of recent health findings about eggplant.
Eggplant juice significantly reduced weight, and certain types of cholesterol in rabbits.
Eggplant had no more health benefits than diet and exercise.
Eggplant extract with orange juice is not an alternative in reducing cholesterol.
Where did I find a white eggplant?
While shopping downtown yesterday, my phone began ringing relentlessly in my purse. I forgot to turn the volume off before shopping. Ordinarily I would not answer a ringing phone while shopping in a store. Finally, the ringing stopped. Thinking it wouldn't happen twice. I was wrong. I gave in and answered it. It was my uncle asking if I'd like a bag of freshly picked produce from his garden. His girlfriend is a master gardener, so who was I to refuse an offer like that! Yes, indeed, I took him up on that offer and quickly left shopping for another day.
In that grocery bag of goodies waiting for me on my front porch when I got back home was a special ingredient. A white eggplant staring up out of the green peppers and red tomatoes.
Dinner was then planned. Chicken stir fry, with chunks of sautéed white eggplant, over a bed of rice. But wait! I had some healthy penne pasta in the pantry. Thinking about it some more, I switched my plans to a fried eggplant and chicken over penne pasta with freshly ripened garden tomatoes!
Let's get started.
What now? I have the eggplant, where do I begin?
Well, I'm pretty quick on my toes at times. Yesterday was one of them. I've never been much of a gourmet cook. Having white eggplant in front of me on my counter with the juiciest red ripened tomatoes was a challenge for me. Quickly searching for ingredients, I came up with a plan.
I decided to fry the eggplant. I had never eaten white eggplant. My grandmother always fried purple eggplant out of my grandfather's home farm garden. She never taught me how, so it's a good thing I paid attention to how she did it!
First, wash the eggplant, cut both ends off, and peel.
The skin wasn't tough at all. I peeled the eggplant with a regular small knife, although I could have used a potato peeler.
Then cut the eggplant in to approximately 1/2" to 3/4" slices.
You can see the difference between the peeled and unpeeled.
White eggplant has a lot of seeds! Do not remove them before cooking.
How to fry eggplant.
This is my grandmother's version of frying eggplant. I know that other people do this much differently but it is what I was used to growing up.
I prepare two bowls. One with four beaten eggs (yolks and whites). The other bowl with flour.
I have two plates near the bowls to contain mess. I set my eggplant slices on the first plate and season with salt and pepper. I dip each slice in to the beaten egg yolks, then roll them in flour until thoroughly covered. I place each slice in a pre-heated skillet pan in vegetable oil on medium heat.
After each side turns golden brown, I flip them over and cook the other side. Then I remove them and set them on another plate to cool.
~I have seen on television cooking shows that chefs do this in the opposite way, first dipping the ingredient in flour, then egg.~
Organize your ingredients.
Have a plate ready to season your eggplant slices.
Fry each eggplant slice until golden brown.
Prepare other ingredients.
While the eggplant is frying, empty one box of penne pasta in to a pot with about 6 cups of water.
Cook until done. When the cooking time is up, drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta in to a large bowl (big enough for stirring all the ingredients later on).
Take the ripened tomatoes, and cut in to squares (about 1 inch in size). I add a sprinkle of salt to the tomatoes for extra flavor.
Freshly picked garden ripe tomatoes!
How to prepare the chicken.
For this recipe, I used whatever chicken I had available in my freezer which was about 1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless tenderloins. I bought them in a frozen bag and we used half to make chicken strips last week.
I made my own seasoning with flour, oregano, salt and pepper. I mixed that in a separate bowl and coated each chicken piece in it. Then in a grill fry pan, I added vegetable oil and let the chicken fry until golden brown on each side.
Coat chicken in flour mixture well, then fry until golden brown.
Cut the cooked chicken tenderloins into bite-sized pieces.
Bringing the ingredients together for a fabulous meal!
Once all the ingredients are prepared, the chicken is cooked thoroughly and golden brown, it's now time to mix it all together.
The pasta was previously transferred to a large mixing bowl. Add the chunked tomatoes (uncooked). Add the fried chicken, cut into bite-size squares. Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Italian salad dressing, not overdoing it, to taste.
Serve with tossed salad and garlic bread.
Toss all ingredients together.
Add parmesan cheese to taste.
Prepare each ingredient while the other is cooking to save time.
- 2 medium sized white eggplants, peeled and cut in to 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices
- 1 to 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken tenderloins, thawed
- 4 medium size tomatoes, cut into squares
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cups water
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 to 1 cup light Italian salad dressing
- 4 eggs, beaten
- Wash, peel and slice eggplant.
- Beat 4 eggs in a bowl. Pour 2 cups of flour in a separate bowl. Set out a clean plate and season each slice of eggplant on the plate with salt and pepper. Dip each slice in egg, then flour. Place in pre-heated skillet with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When browned on each side, transfer to a new plate to cool.
- While eggplant is cooking, wash tomatoes and cut in to cube-like squares. Set aside.
- Prepare a pot of water for boiling. Add pasta and cook. Once done cooking, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Prepare 2 cups of flour with oregano, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Coat each chicken tenderloin thoroughly and place in pre-heated grill fry pan in two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown.
- Once chicken is cooked thoroughly, cut chicken in to bite-sized chunks. Place in mixing bowl with pasta.
- Add cooled eggplant slices and raw tomato chunks to pasta bowl.
- Add 1/2 to 1 cup of Italian dressing and mix thoroughly.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese to taste. Optional.
In all honestly, I've never been an eggplant fan. I find it to be too rich to eat much of it at a time.
The difference is the white eggplant wasn't as rich as the purple eggplant. It was smoother. Perhaps because the white eggplant doesn't grow as large as the purple plant, although I'm not really sure why.
Making this dish without traditional tomato sauce and substituting the chunked tomatoes instead gave a delicious delicate tasty, sweet flavor. The fresh crispness of the tomatoes combined with the fried chicken and eggplant pieces provided a very nice combined texture. It was also interesting biting into delicate bits of cold and hot tender bites of food in one mouthful.
I did not over use the Italian dressing which I think it key to balancing flavor in this dish.