Want my eggplant story? I thought so...
When I was a kid, my dad was a traveling salesman. We lived in North Carolina and he came home from a trip to New York City and described these great eggplant 'fries' he had had. Mom figured it out from his description and it became a family favorite served at all special family dinners (birthdays, etc) and in between.
The eggplant is cut like fries and soaked in water and ice while the oil gets hot and then they are deep fried until they are crispy tan/brown. Sooooooo good.
Cut to 25 years later. Mom and Dad were in New York City and went back to that restaurant so excited to get the authentic original 'mother' dish. They couldn't find it on the menu so asked the waiter. The waiter had never heard of it and went back to ask the chef who had been there for more than 30 years and he'd never heard of it but came out to talk to Mom and Dad out of curiosity. "We've never had eggplant on the menu but we do have fry-cut zucchini..."
Mom tried that at home. It was a fail. The eggplant fries reigned supreme.
That's lovely. I'm so glad you told it.
Zucchini, fie. Zucchini are on my list of things to do future "produce trio" entries on, but I am not generally keen. Winter squash beats summer squash any day. (Just like winter beats summer! Ahem. Just me. Okay. Anyway.)
I'll guest-host for zucchini! Meanwhile, you:eggplant::me:celery and you:celery::me:eggplant.
We should go out for crudites! We could eat all the other person's nibblies and not feel a twinge of guilt for eating all the "good stuff"!
If only your travels ever took you here or mine took me there! But someday, someday...
Seriously someday! Or else a con in a common location. I don't know how much you intend to travel for conventions in the next few years, but I also don't know how much I intend to travel for conventions in the next few years, so hey, it all works out.
Loncon and Readercon next year. After that, there will be a baby, which I expect will curtail travel a bit.
My favorite quick eggplant meal is this. Tl;dr: pretend it's an English muffin.
Heat oil in a glass skillet with cumin, caraway, whatever.
Put in a slice (1/2 inch?) from a big purple eggplant.
While it sears (keeping firm), swish some other cut vegs in the other part of the skillet: tomato, greens, etc.
Turn the eggplant slice. While the new side sears, pile the other vegs on top. Put some cheese on top of that.
Put the skillet under the broiler to melt the cheese. Or turn the oven on Bake if the eggplant is too firm for you.
Garnish with yogurt is good. Also black sesame.
Wiping the skillet with leftover rice is good, or kedgeree, or pilaf.
(A lazy cook alone in the house, can then set the glass skillet straight on the table and eat straight from it, while it keeps everything hot.)
Ah! That's why glass: you mean oven-safe! Okay then. Our oven-safe skillet is not glass, and in fact we don't have a glass skillet, but I could totally do this. Hurrah. Sounds lovely.
2013-09-09 04:35 pm (UTC)
I have a recipe for eggplant that is not particularly healthy, but is very tasty.
Thinly slice the egglant into rounds. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of each eggplant slice, then dip in parmesan cheese. The mayonnaise will make the cheese stick. Broil the slices until cheese is brown, then flip the slices and broil the other side. Put aluminum foil in your broiler first so the broiler does not get messy from the cheese and mayo.
Smaller diameter slices work better than bigger ones because they are less soggy, but this recipe does still work pretty well with the big slices.
Sounds great though piddly. I'd try a big slice, nuked for a minute ot two to remove the sogginess.
ETA: Wow, that came out practically addictive!
I used one big slice of a big purple globe. Forgot to nuke it or to do both sides. Just did one side (with cheddar only). Broiled that one side (on 'hot dog' setting but cut it off sooner).
Texture of the bottom was a little floppy (like a flour tortilla) but not soggy; dry to the touch so non-messy finger food. Juicy when chewed. Great combination of tastes.
A platter of these (served like nachos grande) might make an entree if not too rich; I may have put the mayo on too thick. Would be good with a side dish of greens, sauteed spinich or such.
Edited at 2013-09-10 01:42 am (UTC)
2013-09-10 08:33 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like it! I had not previously considered using cheddar cheese, but that sounds tasty.
This is utterly heretical, I know, but one of my favourite things to do with eggplant, back when I had a freezer, was this: put a sliced banana, a cup or so of frozen mixed berries, and a cup of cubed eggplant in a microwave-safe dish. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste. Cover and heat until the eggplant is soft (which takes a bit longer than just thawing the berries). Eat hot, topped with whipped cream.
I also like it in chicken and mushroom casserole.
We are all for unusual combinations here, as long as they're good unusual combinations.
If you love aubergines, but really have to cut down or even eliminate fat this works surprisingly well. Also as a prelude to making dips rather than roasting.
Cube aubergine, add finely chopped garlic, put in a covered bowl and microwave until soft. I will happily eat this on toast, as a side or as mentioned use as the basis of dips.
When you have the means, the best way to roast eggplant is to wash it, stab it with a fork a few times (to avoid explosions) and then throw it into your fire. Make sure you have tongs on hand. It will look burnt and crispy when you take it out but whatever, that's just the skin; strip it off and you have smokey-amazing roast eggplant goop. (This also works with all varieties of peppers, e.g. anaheim, poblano...) When we used to have wood-burning store for heating we did this all the time... doing the same on a gas barbecue works too, but the flavor is not as nice.
I've never tried roasting it in a merely moderate oven. Now I wonder what difference it makes :-)
Among other things, you can eat the skin after. Which I like, although I like the roasty goop too.
I really like the Chinese preparations of eggplant, especially the Chinese eggplants, which are longer, skinnier, lighter in color, thinner-skinned, and more tender. (Basically, they fix everything I don't like about the giant black eggplants.)
There's a dish one of our local restaurants serves which I've replicated a time or two, which is basically Chinese eggplant cut into half-rounds, with soy sauce and rice vinegar, and maybe Bell peppers, and scallions, and hoisin sauce, added in about that order and cooked on low-to-medium heat until everything is soft and floppy but still structural. Maybe add ground pork for extra flavor and protein. Deelish.
I think the bacon grease is important for the green eggplants, as is liberal application of black pepper.
Mmmm. Much of my household is dubious about eggplant but will eat melatzanasalata (Greek eggplant dip that is almost, but not entirely, unlike baba ganoush). I will try the other dips as well.
Turns out baking with a topping of sliced Polish sausage and cheddar turns out pretty well.