Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eggplant for the Eggplant Hater

The worst part of dating has to be the moment when you realize that your new beau is not as perfect as you thought he was. He is, in fact, human. He has wonderful characteristics, certainly, but he also has flaws. For a lover of eggplant, it is hard to believe - to honestly internalize - that my partner won't touch the stuff.

This is the premise of a long, long quest to have Workaholic enjoy an aubergine. Grilled: no. Caponata: no. Anything baked: no. Fried: no, thanks. Curries: it's a great sauce. The two dishes he will eat are: baba ganoush & my mom's eggplant choka. He claims that the consistency is the problem. Both baba ganoush & eggplant choka are kinda squishy. There's got to be something else. It dawned on me: eggplants are bitter. In spite of salting & draining my eggplant, they are bitter - unless I draw out the bitterness after roasting by squeezing out the water. My local farm has sicilian eggplants - rounder, brighter, cuter than the ubiquitous Black Beauty variety. Salting these is the key.

Eggplant for the Eggplant Hater

2 sicilian eggplant
panko (ca. 3/4 cup)
cooking spray, or olive oil to brush on
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 c water
1 tsp sesame oil
chopped cilantro to garnish (optional)

Slice eggplant into rounds, sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for ca. 20 minutes, then turn & repeat the process. Afterwards, rinse to remove salt & extracted liquid.

Spray rounds with cooking oil, or brush on olive oil. Coat generously in panko. Broil in oven for 10 minutes, or until brown, turning once.

In the meantime, in a small saucepan, warm garlic & ginger. Add soy, oyster sauce & water. Allow to reduce until it is a thick syrup. Add sesame oil.

Remove eggplant from oven. Serve with sauce & chopped cilantro as garnish.

As a huge fan of eggplant, I always thought it would be perfect to share this - like everything else in life - with my partner. Then I turned back to the stove to finish off the rest of dinner & found my eggplant gone. I thought it was safe with the eggplant hater. I guess there's benefits to keeping things to yourself, after all.


Cathy said...

hmmmm - our significant others may be the same person :) I've tried eggplant parmesan, hiding it in lasagna, etc. etc. Finally he had eggplant chips at a tapas restaurant a few months ago and fell in love. I quickly incorporated an eggplant into dinner and he turned his nose up. Sigh....I'll give this a try though.

taste traveller said...

Cathy: if we have the same guy - he travels very fast! :-)
I find the sicilian eggplants are better - but they're harder to find :-(

Amanda said...

That looks like a delicious way to prepare eggplant. I should try it, because I too have chosen a man who doesn't like it!

I think, for him, it's the texture that is the problem as well. The panko is a great idea, and I think it would help make it more palatable. I love this!

Jean said...

Hmmm..this recipe looks great, I like it, thanks

teresa said...

this looks fantastic! we rarely eat eggplant, but i'm really anxious to try this!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Kudos for finding a good recipe that will work for this sometimes difficult vegetable.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

How interesting that he'd find the eggplant more palatable with this....oriental twist to

{kiss my spatula} said...

hmmmm...this sounds like a recipe for me. yes, i admit it, i'm an eggplant hater. but will try this one!

Erica said...

We love eggplant!! That looks great.

taste traveller said...

Amanda: good luck! The crispiness seems to be key.

Jean & Teresa: I hope you like it.

Fresh Local & Best: thanks - although I like it any way I can get it! :-)

Murasaki: the Asian twists in Europe always make me secretly smile!

KMS & Erica: Hope you like it! :-)

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