Being an obesessed foodie, I read cooking magazines and cookbooks, watch the “Food Network,” and become fixated on recipes that I find and want to try. My husband and son have said more than once that they would like to eat the same thing more than once, and I am really trying hard to organize system of keeping “hit” recipes in one place so that I can come back to them.
Sometimes, though, in my desire to learn how to cook everything, I veer into territory that leaves my boys, well, hungry. I see visions of duck confit sheperd’s pie, and they long for burgers on the grill, spaghetti, and fried chicken. I try to be moderate for a number of reasons, including the fact that our budget tends not to allow for much duck acquisition, but I do try to broaden their culinary horizons as often as I can.
At yesterday’s Farmer’s Market, I spotted some beautiful little baby eggplants that were so adorable I could see them cavorting as some sort of tiny vegetable fairies.
I also found a bounty of other lovely things, including “candy” onions, tiny baby carrots, snap peas, shallots, yellow squash, and fresh basil.
I had boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinating for a Korean-style Grilled Chicken Thighs recipe I had seen in “Bon Appetit.” I’d been planning to serve them with sticky rice and sauteed squash with a little sesame oil and soy sauce, but I noticed a recipe for Sesame Eggplant with Green Onions. I decided to roast the eggplants instead of grilling them, and I modified the sauce so that I could use my fresh, new shallots. I also did a little internet research which led me to believe that, unlike their big, bad purple relatives, these baby eggplants would not be bitter, and would not have to be salted and drained before I cooked with them. Sam has never eaten eggplant, and Rob was dubious, but the sauce smelled so delicious, that I was sure they’d both be converted after one bite.
Alas, the conversion was not to be. It turned out that while the long, oval baby eggplants were quite tender and delicious, the larger, rounder specimens remained noticeably bitter. Of course, both Rob and Sam ate the bitter ones first, and looked at me as if I had run them through with my fork. The chicken thighs were a huge hit, as was the sticky rice. I guess the eggplant business was just culinary overreaching on my part…I’ll try again with my mother’s eggplant souffle which in no way resembles eggplant.
I still think this recipe, with my modifications or not, makes a lovely glaze/sauce for roasted or grilled eggplant.
Sesame Eggplant with Green Onions, Only I Use Shallots
(Adapted from “Bon Appetit” Magazine, June 2007)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 medium shallots, peeled
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds) cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-slices, or 2 1/2 pounds assorted baby eggplants, halved crosswise.
Puree olive oil, shallots, soy sauce, and sesame oil in blender or food processor. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Stir in sesame seeds, and season with pepper.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Generously brush 1 side of each eggplant slice, or the top of baby eggplants with shallot mixture. Place eggplant, seasoned side down, on grill. If using slices of large eggplant, brush tops of slices with shallot mixture. Cook until tender and charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Note: I didn’t grill mine; I roasted them for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, brushing them twice with the shallot sauce).