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Eggplant Heaven

eggplant dish chinese

Cooking eggplant stumps many of us, but like mushrooms it’s the meat of the vegetable kingdom — substantial, robust &  full of character — and so is well worth devouring. See below for everything do to with eggplant:)

This easy-to-prepare dish was lumped together with a bunch of other summer improvisations a few posts ago, but deserves its own page now that I have a picture.

Easy Improvisation Eggplant
This used the balance of my farmers market shop plus a few staples. Just saute about 6 sliced Asian eggplants over a very hot flame in a little oil and a couple of flattened garlic cloves, turning once until done, about 12 or so minutes. (Taste if you’re unsure. Better over than under cooked. Seared is good too.) Remove the garlic, if you don’t like it (I do), and lightly salt to taste.

Mix several very generous heaping tablespoons of hoison sauce with Siracha, a Southeast Asian chili sauce, to taste. Stir into eggplant. Look around for something fresh and bright. (I found cherry tomatoes and cooked corn.) Add and toss again with a nice drizzle of sesame oil.  Optional, or if I’d had them: Scallions, cilantro and ginger.

Eggplant unmasked (from my book, The Locavore Way)

Eggplant is available in various sizes and shapes— I especially enjoy skinny Japanese eggplant — all kinds of eggplant take
similar cooking techniques. Although it’s still open to debate,many people feel that eggplant is less bitter when it’s peeled and salted before cooking. All agree that salting keeps eggplant from absorbing too much oil. If you salt, blot dry before cooking.

Eggplant without recipes —

Pierce a few times with a fork, roast eggplant whole, uncovered, until quite soft, 20 minutes to 1 hour at 400°F (grill whole for a smoky taste). Or split and steam for a silky texture. When done, split and scoop out flesh, discard skin and seeds.

Make an eggplant “caviar” by chopping or mashing the flesh with olive oil, garlic, and other ingredients, such as
diced tomato, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.

Blend steamed flesh into babaghanoush or grilled flesh into smoky eggplant soup.

Dice and sauté in a summer stew, caponata, or an Asian flavored dish, as above.

Try slicing, then brushing with oil and grilling until soft. Use grilled slices for a tasty veggie antipasto, a no-fry eggplant Parmesan, or in a sandwich with garlic-basil oil and tomatoes or sesame mayonnaise and bitter greens.

Roll and stuff grilled eggplant slices, or layer with ingredients like local cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

Fry slices and add to any number of dishes. (Of course!)


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