Eggplant with Apples, Fennel and Cumin
- 2 Tbsp canola oil 30 mL
- 2 tsp fennel seeds 10 mL
- 1 tsp cumin seeds 5 mL
- 4 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles (like chile de arbol), stems removed
- 2 small eggplants (about 1/2 lb/250 g each), stems removed, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
- 2 large tart-sweet apples, cored and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
- 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt 2 mL
- 2 tsp ground coriander seeds 10 mL
- 1 tsp ground cumin seeds 5 mL
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 2 mL
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 60 mL
- 1. In large skillet or wok, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in fennel seeds, cumin seeds and chiles. Let them sizzle, crackle and smell fragrant for about 10 to 15 seconds.
- 2. Immediately add eggplants and apples. Sprinkle with salt, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Stir-fry to coat vegetable-fruit medley with spices and cook ground spices without burning, 2 to 4 minutes.
- 3. Pour in 1 cup (250 mL) water and stir to release any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Heat to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is fall-apart tender and apple is slightly firm and very succulent (and usually more tart), about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
- Tips: The most common variety of eggplant in North American grocery stores is the Italian-American: dark purple, tough-skinned and bell-shaped. No need to peel or salt them to leach away excess bitterness. In fact, their bitterness offers great balance to this dish. To cut an eggplant, first remove its stem. Then slice it in half lengthwise and cut each half lengthwise again into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices. Stack two or three slices and cut them, white flesh side up, into 1-inch cubes. (Its easier to slice from the flesh side through the skin as opposed to the other way around.) Try any of the 40 eggplant varieties grown worldwide in this recipe.
- To grind coriander and cumin seeds, place them in a spice or coffee grinder and pulverize until they are the texture of finely ground black pepper.
1/2 cup (125 mL)
Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce
Chili garlic sauce is a common ingredient in Chinese markets. It has the consistency of a thick puree and gives intense heat and flavor to any dish especially cooked with additional fresh garlic and ginger. This classic Szechwan dish is delicious served hot, at room temperature or chilled, hot and spicy with the sweetness from the pork. Chinese or Asian eggplant is slender and sweeter and less bitter than the traditional globe shaped Western variety.
Moroccan Eggplant with Tomatoes
Eggplant is tricky to cook because its spongy texture soaks up so much oil that it can become greasy. The solution is to use the "sweating" technique, which means to sauté the vegetable quickly, then cover the pan so it softens in its own juices. That way the natural eggplant flavor really shines through. Another tip with eggplant is to pare off only part of the skin so that some of the pieces become soft and some stay firmer when cooked. To serve this Moroccan dish as a vegetarian main course, ladle over cooked couscous or rice pilaf and sprinkle with a little feta cheese. Or, serve it as an accompaniment to grilled lamb or lamb chops.
Wilted Rainbow Chard with Seared Eggplant and Parsley Vinaigrette
Rainbow chard is aptly named - long, hearty leaves with a rainbow of colors that brighten any meal. Treat these leaves as you would spinach a quick sauté or steam and they're ready to go. In this salad, the wilted yet vibrant leaves are nestled under baby eggplant caramelized with canola oil. The vegetables are then drizzled with a zesty green vinaigrette made with parsley.