Tuesday, August 11, 2009

By the skin of our eggplant

So today a grilled eggplant salad recipe was the featured recipe on Mark Bittman's blog, and I thought, "hey, I've got some grilled eggplant in the fridge" — but since it's been so hot and humid the past few days, I thought the whole-milk-yogurt dressing might be a bit heavy. Plus, I had some cherry tomatoes that needed a home, and wanted to make it a main dish by adding some garbanzo beans (canned, I'm afraid), so I opted for an olive-oil dressing instead.

I cut off the skins as per the Bittman recipe (it was a large eggplant from the CSA which I had grilled in thick rounds, mostly for sandwiches) and then my New England working-class "waste not, want not" complexes kicked in, and I suddenly couldn't bear to compost the eggplant skin sitting on my cutting board.

My solution? I minced the skins into 1/8" x 1/3" (the thickness of the grilled rounds) pieces, tossed them in a small bowl with plenty of salt, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes — making a kind of quick spicy pickle, which worked perfectly as a garnish. The skinless cubed chopped eggplant was meltingly tender, the small bits of briny, spicy skin added piquancy and a kind of olive-like chewiness.

(Seen here with the perfect side vegetable — New England sweet corn, picked that day, cooked in boiling water for exactly 60 seconds. So perfect it needs neither salt nor butter)

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