Sunday, August 17, 2008


Was never much of a fan of eggplants either, didn't have them growing up and when I did later they were either served up in eggplant parmesan (when chicken parm was so much more satisfying) or served up as part of a summer vegetable mix, dripping with what was a half a step up from bath water.

A few years ago I decided I was going to give to try preparing them myself. I followed Alton Brown's advice (I followed a transcript from his eggplant show) to draw as much water out of them as possible and then to treat them like a steak I salted the bejesus out of them, squeezed out the water and ended up with these limp dishrags of pale vegetable. I like the taste of Worcestershire sauce but not so much that it could compensate for the bland eggplant. And referring to these things as steak was generous, tuna steak and portabello steaks, those I can see. My eggplant dislike had been reconfirmed.

A couple weeks ago I decided they would make a good letter E. I could complain about them, refer to them as vapid waterlogged sponges, it was going to be good. So I bought the three in the picture, the big one at the Grand Army Farmers Market and the two little shavers at the Park Slope Food Coop and was going to make something. It would further prove how bland and watery these things are. Their time arrived. When I went to prepare them the big one was growing some white fuzzies out of a dent I hadn't noticed before. The big one had had the radish so I tossed it out and turned my attention to the two little ones. I decided to cut them into slices and sautee them up with garlic and duck fat. I usually cook with olive oil but decided I'd pull out all the stops. I cooked the eggplant and garlic for 30 minutes and then poured them (soft soft eggplant and brown crunchy garlic, just shy of burnt and just shy of bitter) over arugula and sprinkled on some goat cheese. The eggplant had soaked up lots of duck fat deliciousness and the garlic gave it crunch, the arugula's pepperiness and the goat cheese joined in. Mmmm. Maybe I could have fried up discs of cardboard and they would have tasted as good. Doesn't matter - eggplant is pretty good and it won't be five years before I cook it next time.


Greg said...

I think I want to be there the next time you cook eggplant - that sounds delicious!

Melissa said...

I am sorry I missed out on this duck fat experiment - The white soggy SPONGE aspect of the poor defenseless eggplants just may have served your taste buds well this time!