One of the few vegetables I allow myself to buy at the farmer’s market is eggplant. Our plants haven’t really started producing yet (see above picture – I *think* that’s an eggplant bud), and its one of my favorite vegetables! Last week I finally decided to try white eggplant. I don’t know why I was so dubious about it before – but the gal at the market said they were less bitter, much creamier, and if I hadn’t tried them yet I DEFINITELY needed to! And she was so right!! I’ll still buy the purple ones too, or even the zebra-striped, but the white had a noticeably creamier texture to them that I really liked. Its too bad that cooked eggplant isn’t all that photo-friendly – it doesn’t retain its coloring very well. But it is high on taste so I guess that is the more important factor!
I can’t remember how I found this eggplant recipe – probably through Tastespotting, which I regularly peruse for inspiration (and occasionally have submissions accepted!). But this recipe is now destined to be part of my repertoire, because it is easy, requires ingredients I always have, and is versatile for many uses. I made it last week to go with grilled zucchini, tilapia, and basil/parsley flecked couscous. And I made it again the next day (I still had 2 eggplants left) but instead of grilling it, I sauteed it and mixed it with chard, rice, white beans, and feta for a wrap. I’ll include that recipe too!
Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant
(Original recipe here)
2 small/medium eggplants
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick circles. Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt on both sides and lay out on a colander. The eggplant will release a lot of liquid. This will help get rid of bitterness (if any) and make the eggplant more succulent and less watery after it’s cooked. Let sit for 15 minutes, then dry both sides well.
In a large bowl, mix honey, olive oil, garlic, paprika, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Dunk both sides of each eggplant slice into this marinade.
Preheat the grill to high. Grab a wad of paper towel with tongs, dip it in oil, and brush it on the grill. Place the eggplant slices on the grill, cover, and turn down the heat to medium. Grill until marked, about 3 minutes. Turn 90 degrees to make cross-hatch grill marks. Grill until marked, about 3 more minutes. Brush the slices with remaining marinade, flip and repeat the grilling procedure on the other side. Regulate heat so that the eggplant is browning, but not burning. Remove to a plate, and drizzle with olive oil.
Eggplant-Chard-White Bean Wrap
1 recipe Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant (see above)
One bunch chard, central rib removed and torn into smallish pieces
1 Can White Beans, drained
3 servings cooked rice (I used a pre-cooked package from Trader Joe’s)
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Either grill eggplant as above, or slice eggplant into bite-size pieces and saute until nearly done. Add the chard and cook until wilted. Mix in the rice and beans, salt/pepper to taste, and heat until warm. Wrap it up with feta cheese (and some lettuce/tomato too if you’re inclined!)