Eggplant Salad with Pinenuts and Sultanas
(The dish was crowded - a rustic arrangement - but tasted fantastic)
I have a strange relationship with eggplant (or aubergines). I can't stand them.
That said, everything I eat made with them, I adore. Friend Rosa makes me melanzane alla parmigiana (called casually just parm - a - jarn in America) and I adore it. I recently had a dish of eggplant cooked in soy and ginger which was rich, meaty and wonderful. I could live on bread and baba ganoush (once had to explain to someone that it wasn't burnt, but intentionally smoky). We'll order eggplant cooked with miso for a Japanese meal. And the Algerian / Moroccan / Sicilian salad (above) is a big favourite and always called upon to deal with an eggplant excess.
It's a weird, slightly sinister looking plant. It looks poisonous, it looks evil and at the same time, it's incredibly handsome, both the fruit and leaves. I tried once to move a plant indoors for its dark beauty but it wasn't happy. It belongs in the garden.
I'm not the only person to think the eggplant is strange. It's name in Italian suggests it will touch your brain and turn you mad. (I don't know where the word aubergine comes from so I'd better look it up).
The salad above consists of fried eggplant dressed with lemon, topped with pine-nuts, sultanas and chopped herbs. The day the eggplant excess was dumped on me in return for my excess of pears, I had no pine-nuts so, for crunch, I added small cubes of crisp-fried bread. Furthermore, my parsley has not come back yet and my coriander is always running off, so I used Greek basil (an adorable little bush that lasts all year). So you see, you're allowed to adapt.
Hope that your eggplants have not been left to grow enormous and fill with huge seeds.
The Salad - serves 4 if part of a selection of dishes.
Good olive oil for frying (to about 3cm or 1" deep)*
2 medium-sized eggplant 1 tsp salt
I lemon for juice 1 - 2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp pin-nuts 1 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp chopped parsley 1 tbsp chopped coriander
**I've read you salt eggplant to get rid of the "bitter juices". Rubbish. It's salted to take out some of its liquid, making it easier to fry.
***Food cooked in hot oil will not be greasy. Oil that isn't hot enough will make food limp and oily. If you have doubts when checking oil temperature, throw in a small cube of bread. If it sizzles, you're good to go.
Now enough of recipes - there are too many already.
Add some suggestions or questions below (in comments). What have you done with an excess?