The Great Wall of Eggplant

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I’ve never been a big fan of eggplant. At least, I’ve never really worked with it. I’m not all that adverse to it, but there is something about cooking it at home that has always put me off. Two visions pop into my head as I stroll pass the eggplant. The first, a mushy dull round of eggplant somehow lost as an afterthought, and the second, thinly sliced, breaded and fried, acting as a base for a mound of tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. Now of course these aren’t the only uses but sometimes we build barriers and have a hard time breaking them down. Eggplant is one of my walls.

Eggplant was one of my walls. The only way to get over something is to put your head down and commit. In the influential words of a friend, sometimes you just have to “Get GOOD!”. So as I carried my eggplant to the check out counter, half expecting lights to be flashing, people to be cheering, and montage music to be playing, I had to figure out what the heck I was going to prepare. I decided, that the only way I should prepare the eggplant would be where the subtle flavor was prominent and the textural mushiness softness could be appreciated. I thought about the flavors that would marry with the eggplant, not overpower it, and the necessary crunch that was needed. It didn’t take long to figure out the rest…

I sliced the eggplant into rounds of about 1/4 inch. Seasoning them liberally with salt, pepper, and cumin, I grilled the rounds until they carmelized a bit. Eggplant contains a lot of moisture so if the heat isn’t high, you’re most likely going to get something soggy. Layering these slices with sliced tomatoes, roasted fennel, mozzarella, and basil all on top of toasted garlic rubbed bread brought together the neccesary textural contrasts and flavor compliments to make this eggplant delicious. The subtle flavor really broke through. I’m not sure if I would call this an open faced sandwich or a large bruschetta, a healthy snack or a hearty dinner, but the details are moot. Of greater importance, now when I see those purple lobes in the green market and in the store, I won’t be so quick to move on.

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2 Responses to The Great Wall of Eggplant

  1. Kris says:

    I don’t use that much eggplant either so your not the only one. Just to throw it out there at the restaurant we use eggplant caponata. Very versatile Italian preparation of eggplant look into you’ll like it.

  2. […] all caution to the wind and decided to try a few non-traditional components. Keeping up with my recent conversion, I used japanese eggplant along with red onion, bok choy, and snow peas as a base. Certainly none […]

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