Friday, February 3, 2012

Eggplant Fricassée

I love eggplant. L-O-V-E.  (I hated it as a child)  So I got a little giddy when I found one in good shape on the discount rack at Stop and Shop today for 75 cents!  That meaty specimen was definitely priced close to $4 yesterday. Since I got it discount though I wanted to cook it today since throwing away food is the saddest thing ever. 

Since Italians really know what to do with an eggplant, I flipped through The Silver Spoon for a yummy looking, paleo friendly dish, and found this!  I was very pleasantly surprised, learned a new cooking technique, and have a happy belly. The recipe below is slightly modified from the book as it called for 5 eggplants, and I don't think any of us are eating that much eggplant anytime soon.

Eggplant Fricassée

The picture in the book:
* 1 large eggplant, sliced thickly (~1/2in)
* 2 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 can peeled plum tomatoes, drained & chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 tbsp parsley
* salt and pepper
* 2 eggs
* juice of 1 lemon (or equivalent from bottle)

It is important to remember that eggplant must be well salted and allowed to 'sweat' for 30 minutes, then rinsed and patted dry before using. This takes the bitterness out. I've skipped this step if I'm in a real hurry but it does make a real difference. I like to slice mine, layer it in a colander (salting each layer well), then place a bowl full of water on top to help press them a bit. 

Meanwhile - melt the oil and butter together in your skillet (I use my cast iron, but an enamel casserole like le creuset would be great). Add the onion and sauté over medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until translucent. 


Add your patted dry eggplant slices, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and pepper. (Save the salt for the end and add only if it needs it since the canned tomato will likely have enough). 
Stir this around to coat the slices (it's a little awkward unless you have an enormous pan). Let cook for about 15 minutes or until the eggplant is tender enough for you. Flip them over every few minutes to make sure they cook evenly and get coated in the seasonings. 
When they're done, remove from the heat. 
Scramble the eggs together with the lemon juice - it will be very liquidy. ( You'll probably get the best flavor from juicing a fresh lemon)

Pour this over the eggplant in the pan and stir right away so the egg doesn't scramble. It should coat the eggplant like a cream sauce! (I was totally fascinated by this)

I am still fascinated by this dish - it was so simple, with basic ingredients, and seriously came out tasting 5 star restaurant quality. I will definitely make this again (an incredible compliment coming from someone who's only made like 3 things more than once), and I am going to try it with chicken too! I bet it'll be killer.

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