I know it's more the exception than the rule, but I've managed to cultivate a bit of a garden out in Brooklyn, and this time of summer is always my favorite because of all the things that come in from my summer garden.
My favorite recipe that is almost completely made from things harvested from my own garden is a type of Eggplant Pasta.
I start with either 1 large or 2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced vertically into long slices. Lay them out on a wire rack and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt(any coarse grind salt is OK). This helps suck out the extra moisture from the eggplant, and with as much rain as we had this early summer, it's probably a necessary step! Let the eggplant sit for about 30 minutes, while the salt draws out the excess moisture, before you blot the slices with paper towels to remove whatever salt and liquid is on the surface.
Then, it's just a matter of slicing the eggplant into thin, pasta-like strips. That's right, the eggplant is your pasta in this dish!
Coat a medium saute pan with either 2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or 2 tbsp EVOO + 1tbsp butter (no margarine!)
Once it gets to medium heat, toss in the eggplant pasta and saute until it just starts to turn translucent around the edges.
Now here is where you start the sauce. I grow cherry or grape tomatoes in my own garden, because they tend to do better -- both in producing and flavor -- in my tiny backyard with only partial sunlight. Gather however many tomatoes from the vines that you can, cut them in half, and toss them into the pan with the eggplant. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
I also like to get fresh basil from the garden, cut it into a chiffonade (you can do this by stacking the leaves on top of each other and then rolling them up really tight, then just slicing the roll really thin.) and toss it with the eggplant and tomato as well.
In the end, just add salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve hot and scarf down! From the garden, to your belly, in roughly 30 minutes or less!