We had some friends over for dinner this past weekend, and we decided that this was a great time to cook up the several eggplant we had hanging out in the garden. Wanting a different take on the purple nightshade I turned to Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. The recipe we found was a eggplant tricolore, a take on an Italian classic. It turned out fantastic.
One of the things that I noticed in making this was a theory I had about eggplant for a while (and one that had been pushed along by many cooking shows) was that for eggplant to be tasty you have to get the water out. For this recipe I used the convection roast at like 375˚F for 30 minutes with them up on a wire rack over my pan to get the airflow on both sides. The steam was pouring out the oven vent almost the entire time. By the end they were very shriveled and brown, but they tasted great and weren't bitter. So remember, with eggplant water is the enemy.
Inspired by this success, Carrie and I decided to make the cover recipe off the cookbook, which is a roasted eggplant with buttermilk sauce and pomegranate. I was out of garden eggplant, so we had to pick up that (and apparently one of the last pomegranates of the season) at Central Market.
We were in luck, because Central Market was also having a sale on wild Alaskan Coho, so I picked up a pound of that as well. I wanted to do that in the sous vide as I had yet to sous vide a piece of quality, fresh fish, so I prepped the salt with some Maldon salt and pepper and in the food jacuzzi it went.
I prepped the eggplant as the recipe said. Score it with perpendicular diagonals to make hash marks, brush them with olive oil until they can't absorb anymore, then salt and pepper. It roasted in the oven for 30 minutes at 400˚F, but honestly I should have gone for the entire 40 minutes. While the eggplant were cooking I used the "spanking" method to empty out the pomegranate. Good stress reliever.
After I took out the eggplant and got the fish out of the sous vide, it was time to put everything together. All-in-all I think it came out okay. If I do it again I'll cook the eggplant longer (remember, get that water out!), but other than that I was pretty pleased with the meal. Eggplant is amazingly versatile, and come September when the eggplant from the garden is coming in fast and furious, it will be great to have such a good vegetable cookbook at our disposal.