Friday, August 27, 2010
I didn't try eggplant until I was in graduate school. My Gramma made my Mom eat it once as a child and I think it traumatized her a little, so it never crossed our plates. Neither did ox tail soup for that matter... Anyway, the vegetarian option at the university cafeteria usually consisted of eggplant and tasted pretty good. Eggplant is a very mild vegetable with flesh that gets quite soft when cooked. It picks up other flavours, much like zucchini.
I saw what looked like a nice summery recipe for minted eggplant on Ciao Chow Linda's site not long ago and decided to give it a whirl since I absolutely adore mint. I bought cute little baby eggplants, mostly because of their cuteness, and now you know most of the ingredients. This dish comes together really quickly, which is always nice on a week night. We shared the eggplant for dinner along with some bread and the most A-MA-ZING cheese. It was a ginger mango Stilton. Sweet, creamy, and tangy. Sadly, Chris was not a fan of these cheese, so I had to eat it all by myself. I am such a martyr. Luckily, he did enjoy the eggplant.
I thought this dish was good, but not otherworldly amazing. I think that I made one mistake which was to ignore Linda's suggestion (silly me) of a non-stick pan in favour of my grill pan. This prevented the eggplant from caramelizing as well as it would have on a full-contact surface. I have one more little eggplant in the fridge, so I might try again later this week with the proper pan.
Here's the recipe:
From Ciao Chow Linda
1 large eggplant or 2-3 small eggplants
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper
1.Wash and slice the eggplant into quarter-inch slices.
2. Toss the slices with some salt and let them sit in a strainer for about an hour. This will help the eggplant release excess moisture.
3. Pat slices dry with paper towel, then rinse under cold water and pat dry one more time.
4. Heat olive oil to medium in a pan. Add one layer of eggplant slices and cook until well browned on both sides. You may need to brush on extra oil as you go if the eggplant slices are looking dry. Set cooked slices on paper towel to drain.
5. Meanwhile, chop the mint and quarter some lemons
6. Once the eggplant is cooked, toss some garlic in the pan with a little more oil and cook until just browned.
7. Arrange slices on a plate. Season with salt and pepper, and top with garlic, mint, and a squeeze of lemon.
Pairs nicely with a Stella.