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Aug 17, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘eggplant’

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Salad

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

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I recently discovered that seared eggplant serves as a phenomenal blank canvas for a grilled salad – a dish I usually dismiss as a trendy waste of produce. But this warm, delightful Mediterranean-style salad loaded with soft feta and drizzled with a tangy lemon-garlic yogurt dressing is more than enough to make me a believer (at least for one night).

Perfect for summer grilling, this warm-weather friendly salad pairs especially well with grilled Italian sausages or a big slab of barbecue pork and a bottle of richest, full-bodied red wine you can get your paws on.

Like many salads, the key to success in this dish is timing. Soaking the eggplant slices too long or grilling them even a few minutes more than the recommended time will result in an overcooked pile of goo. Have all the ingredients prepped before lighting the grill and plan plating, dressing and serving it immediately while the eggplant is still warm and relatively firm.

 

Grilled Eggplant Salad
3 to 4 servings

8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large eggplant
40 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for greasing
½ cup chopped basil leaves
3 oz. crumbled feta

• In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• Fill a large bowl with lightly salted water. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into ¾-inch slices and submerge them in the water. Brine 20 to 30 minutes.
• Thread the tomatoes on metal or wood skewers.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Lightly spray or brush olive oil on the grill grate. Grill the eggplant slices and tomato skewers over direct heat 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.
• Divide the eggplant slices among the serving plates. Top each with grilled tomatoes, then drizzle with the yogurt dressing and garnish with the basil and feta. Serve immediately.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Meatless Monday: Vegan Eggplant Tikka Masala

Monday, January 18th, 2016

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Warm, heavily spiced Tikka Masala is loaded with heat and veggies to keep you cozy on a frigid winter night. Eggplant is the star of this curry dish, along with onion, tomatoes and Serrano peppers cooled with a dollop of coconut cream. Ladle it all over a bed of fluffy basmati rice and dream of warm summer nights. Get the recipe here.

By the Book: “Zahav” by Michael Solomonov

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Nov15_Round3_1

 

I never cook  eggplant at home because my mom makes the best eggplant. Why mess with perfection? Still, I decided to make chef Michael Solomonov’s fried eggplant with tehina and pomegranate seeds from the Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking for one key reason: It looked like the gorgeous cover of Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Thankfully, it also tasted as amazing as it looked.

The dish took a little prep work, as I needed to salt the eggplant and let it sit overnight to draw out extra moisture. Eggplant skin can be thick and tough, but Solomonov instructs you to peel just half of the eggplant skin so it looks striped. This lessens the resistance when eating but keeps the vegetable intact when cooking. Details like this set you up for success, which makes me trust the recipes that I haven’t tried yet.

The tehina (the same ground sesame paste Americans call “tahini”) was a rich nutty sauce combining the paste with the sharp raw garlic and a bright lemon juice. I drizzled it and molasses atop the sliced eggplants, then sprinkled it all with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. The whole dish reminded me of a savory sundae, perfectly balanced with a sweet, acidic bite.

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate. These recipes are written perfectly. Anyone that can follow instructions can cook from this book.
This book is for: Anyone. No really. With nine chapters covering everything from vegetables to soup to rice to grilled meats, anyone can find something to try in this book.
Other recipes to try: Hummus or fried cauliflower with herbed labneh
The verdict: This simple dish offered more complexity than the Turkish kofte, earning it frontrunner status in our Middle Eastern By the Book battle. Check back next week when Zahav takes on our final contender.

 

 

Nov15_Round3_2

 

Fried Eggplant with Tehina and Pomegranate Seeds
6 servings

2 large eggplants
Kosher salt
Canola oil, for frying
1/3 cup Basic Tehina Sauce (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp. carob molasses
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup shelled pistachios

• Remove 4 vertical strips of skin from each eggplant with a peeler, leaving the remaining skin attached. Trim the ends and cut the eggplants into ¾-inch-thick rounds. Generously season both sides with salt and place on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Refrigerate overnight.
• Heat ½ inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wipe both sides of each eggplant slice with a paper towel to remove surface moisture and excess salt.
• When the oil is shimmering but not smoking add the eggplant slices in a single layer, working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet. Fry the eggplant on each side until dark brown, about 5 minutes per side. You want the eggplant to be seriously dark on the outside and creamy on the inside, so be patient. When the skillet starts to seem dry, add more oil as needed. Remove the eggplant slices from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
• Place the eggplant on a platter and spoon the tehina sauce on top. Drizzle with the carob molasses and scatter the pomegranate seeds and pistachios on top.

Basic Tehina Sauce
Makes about 4 cups

1 head garlic
¾ cup lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1½ tsp. kosher salt
2 generous cups tehina
½ tsp. ground cumin

• Break up the head of garlic with your hands, letting the unpeeled cloves fall into the blender. Add the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. Blend on high for a few seconds until you have a coarse puree. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow.
• Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Add the tehina to the strained lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
• Whisk the mixture together until smooth (or use a food processor), adding ice water a few tablespoons at a time to thin it out. The sauce will lighten in color as you whisk. When the tehina seizes up or tightens, keep adding ice water, bit by bit (about 1½ cups in total), whisking energetically until you have a perfectly smooth, creamy, thick sauce.
• Taste and add up to 1½ teaspoons more salt and cumin if you like. If you’re not using the sauce immediately, whisk in a few tablespoons of ice water to loosen it before refrigerating. The tehina sauce will keep a week refrigerated, or it can be frozen for up to a month.

 

Printed with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In This Issue: Vegetize It – Pasta and a Glass of Pinot

Friday, September 27th, 2013

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Cooking dinner is fun, but you know what’s really fun? Sipping wine while Internet shopping. Or Facebook stalking. Or watching your favorite TV show while the kids clean the house. And yet, even if they ate breakfast and lunch, even if you made them dinner yesterday, right around 6 o’clock, your people are going to take the pinot out of your hand and demand another meal.

Which, I’m 98 percent certain, is why the Italians invented carbonara. Whipping up a batch is faster than picking up takeout, and it uses ingredients you probably have around the house anyway – pasta, eggs, bacon, cheese and pepper. Omit the bacon for a vegetarian version, and you’re looking at a yummy homemade meal in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.

So how do you omit the bacon when the traditional recipe relies on it? I had no idea. But I ran the question past my friend Lucinda, who is a good cook and never throws a pizza at her family so that she can watch Game of Thrones.

To see what Kellie Hynes and her friend Lucinda cooked up, click here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

In This Issue: One Ingredient, 3 Ways – Eggplant

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

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Eggplant comes in colors ranging from albino white to midnight purple, and in shapes from Gwyneth Paltrow skinny to Rubenesquely rotund. Its shiny skin belies a bitter flesh, but once you give it a little help, it’s just as lovely on the inside as it is on the outside. Here are three ways to celebrate the complex flavors and meaty texture of this summer beauty.

-Photo by Laura Miller

Pasta con Melanzane: then, now, always.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012



One bite and you’ll know why the Pasta con Melanzane at Rich & Charlie’s hasn’t changed in 20 years. As kids, the eggplant perched atop the big bowl of piping hot pasta was an afterthought. We’d throw the purple hunk on Mom’s plate to uncover the shell-shaped doughy nuggets underneath, little beauties bathing in a subtly sweet tomato sauce and duo of cheeses. These days, we fight over those thick eggplant slices – blanketed in molten cheese just slightly browned and crunchy from a little time beneath the broiler. Carbs and cheese. Salty and sweet. It’s an addicting combination: then, now, always.

Rich & Charlie’s, 1081 S. Woods Mill Road, Town and Country, 636.227.8965, richandcharlies.com

— photo by Jonathan Gayman

By the Book: Mourad Lahlou’s Eggplant Purée

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

coverWelcome to By the Book, a new weekly online column in which we try our hand at recipes from some of the many amazing cookbooks that come across our desks. We thumb through, pick a dish and then get cooking – revealing the recipe we chose and the results of our culinary journey. Scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how you can win a copy of the featured book and to see last week’s By the Book winner

Mourad New Moroccan is a hybrid of a coffee-table book and a detailed cookbook that successfully explains the flavors, methods and customs of Moroccan cooking. Chef Mourad Lahlou was raised in Marrakesh. He didn’t go to culinary school; instead he received his training in his home kitchen in Morocco watching his mom, aunts and nanny cook. This later became the foundation for the food he makes at his Michelin Starred restaurant, Aziza in San Francisco, which is the first Moroccan restaurant to be awarded this honor. The recipes in this book are complex, yes, but Lahlou does a great job of explaining each layer of his dishes – from the spice blend you need to make before attempting the recipes to the tradition behind the dishes themselves.

For my first crack at Moroccan cooking, I thought I’d try my hand at something I’m somewhat familiar with and already love: baba ghanoush. Except this Charred Eggplant Purée dish isn’t that, as Lahlou explicitly states in the description of the recipe since the method and flavors are different.

charringeggplant

Though it’s a simple dish, this recipe takes time to go through all of the steps – from making your own garlic purée with confited garlic cloves to charring the eggplants on the stovetop and then steaming and peeling the eggplant. Lahlou also loves to use sieves for making his purées super smooth, which he recommends when making the garlic purée. It took quite a while to push those cloves through the strainer though; next time I would probably just make a garlic paste with the back of my knife. He also instructs us to use a sieve on the eggplant purée after it’s already taken a spin through the food processor in order to remove any charred bits of eggplant. I skipped this step. I just ran my food processor on high for a while until the mixture was silky smooth. Call me inpatient, but I just couldn’t take the sieve at that point.

One quick tip: Save the oil that you simmered the garlic in to use in the eggplant purée. It adds even more garlic flavor to the final dish and keeps you from wasting perfectly good oil. (It won’t take care of all the oil you need for the eggplant, so you’ll have to supplement it with unused oil as well.)

garlicconfit

The flavors are spot on, warm and flavorful from the cumin and charred eggplant with just enough bite from the lemon juice. This purée adds a burst of flavor to a wide range of dishes. Lahlou suggested using it for any lamb dish: smeared on a plate with grilled lamb chops, served atop slices of roasted leg of lamb. I suggest putting it on anything you like hummus with: crudités, roasted vegetables, sandwiches and pita chips are all great vehicles for it.

puree

Eggplant Purée
Makes about 2 cups

2 lbs. eggplant, preferably Rosa Bianca or globe
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for finishing
¼ cup garlic purée (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper, or to taste
Pinch cayenne
Pinch smoked paprika
Marash pepper
Grilled flatbreads or pita chips

For the eggplant purée:
Cut off and discard the ends of the eggplants. Cut the eggplant crosswise into ¾-inch slices.

The eggplant is best if charred in a large, dry cast-iron skillet. Turn the fan over the stove to high and set the pan over medium-high heat. Let it heat for about 5 minutes. Add as many eggplant slices as you can fit without crowding the pan. Char for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to press down on the slices and rotate them in the pan as necessary until the bottoms are blackened and burnt. Turn each piece over once it is charred and repeat on the second side. As the pieces are charred, move them to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining slices. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the eggplant to steam for about 10 minutes Pull away and discard the peel from each slice of eggplant. Chop the eggplant and put in a colander in the sink to drain for 20 minutes. Put the eggplant in a food processor and add all the remaining ingredients. Process to a smooth purée. Pass the purée through a fine-mesh strainer to strain out the charred bits (there will still be small dark flecks in the purée). Taste it and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice, salt and/or pepper if you think it’s needed.

The spread is wonderful when just made but it can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

To serve: Put the purée in a serving bowl, drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with marash pepper. Serve with warm flatbread or pita chips, if desired.

garlicpuree

Garlic Confit Garlic Purée
Makes about 1 cup

3 cups garlic cloves
About 2½ cups extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for storing

Put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan and add enough olive oil to cover them. Bring the oil to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and golden brown. At this point you have garlic confit, which can be stored in its oil for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

To make the garlic purée, use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the oil, and pass it through a fine-mesh strainer or tamis.

Put the purée in an airtight container, smooth the top and cover with a thin layer of fresh olive oil. The purée can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 weeks.

Excerpted from Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2011.

For a chance to win a copy of Mourad: New Moroccan, tell us about your favorite Moroccan dish to make in the comments section below.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Ann whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won her a free copy of Bocca. Ann, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew regarding your prize!

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