Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Cookin': Yom Kippur Eggplants

So.  Now you know all about my fear ineptitude severe mental issues with the beautiful aubergine.  But now I'm going to tell you all about the recipe that changed EVERYTHING and has allowed me to have a much healthier, well-balanced relationship with my favorite purple veggie.

But first - after yesterday's post, I had tons of comments and messages of support.  It seems as though I am not the only one out there who has no trouble oogling at - yet has issues with ingesting - eggplants!  Who knew?!? I'm so glad that I'm not the only one!  I also received lots of delicious eggplant recipes and seriously, thank you to everyone.  I can't wait to try my hand at them, and hopefully kick this fear of eggplant-cooking forever!

I had another thought after reading my comments last night.  I started thinking about all those other often-unloved veggies, and I thought that there must be ways for me to make them more appealing.  So, here's where I need your help.  If there are vegetables that you are trepidatious about tenderizing then please comment below or send me an email and let's find a way to Punch Up Our Palates together.  I'm willing and ready, peeps.  Lay it on me!  And let's have some foodie fun together!

Right. Back to eggplants.  I first came across this recipe when a friend posted a picture of the finished product on her Facebook page.  If ever there was such a thing as food porn, I swear that picture would be it. The colors, textures, everything about that one little iPhone photo screamed "YOU MUST EAT ME NOW!"  I immediately stopped licking the screen and started typing out a message to my friend.  I'm afraid it wasn't very coherent and it might have gone something like this:


And then she told me that it was eggplants.

And then I spazzed out.

I mean, EGGPLANTS, people.  It was either fate or the twisted hand of karma that had come down to torture me for all the eggplants I had sent to their untimely deaths in the past.  Either way, I was stunned.  Flabbergasted, even.  Eggplants.  What the heck was I supposed to do with eggplants?  According to Carrie I was supposed to make this recipe and have a foodgasm, but I didn't think I could really go all the way with an eggplant.  I'm just not that kind of girl.  I'm the kind of girl that flirts endlessly with eggplants and even has them over for dinner.  Then while I'm fumbling to get to first base with a bowlful of baba ganoush I'm the girl that suddenly runs away crying because IT'S JUST TOO INTENSE.

But I also couldn't back down now that I'd asked my friend for the recipe.  What would I say when she asked me how I liked it?  That I was too intimidated to even try?  No way, peeps.  Backing down is not in my DNA.  Backing myself into a corner and then half-assing an excuse is more like my M.O. -  but not backing down.  I could do this.  I knew I could...even if it meant that I had to actually COOK a cute little aubergine instead of trying to decorate my house with it.  Which is like, crazy talk for a crazy person like me.

The recipe was really very easy to follow and preparing it was a snap.  It did take a bit of time from start to finish, but it there was a lot of waiting time so it's not like I had to worry about browning, boiling, broiling, under or over-cooking.  All of which are ways in which I have ruinied eggplants in the past.  In fact, the recipe calls for grilling eggplants and gives you such specific directions that even even the eggplant-challenged amongst us will find that it's really quite easy to do.

The trick to this recipe really is the marinade.  There aren't very many ingredients but oh my is it ever finger-lickin' good.  Even Inara (who really is the world's pickiest eater, which is a whole other post in and of itself) had a few bites and declared that it was "okay and does not taste like the other eggplants you make" - which is like a miracle in this house.

The rest of us couldn't get enough of this.  I think Yousuf almost gave it a standing ovation and he immediately decided that this recipe needed to go into our regular food rotation.  It is THAT good, peeps! I had to share just how much we loved this dish and I immediately called Carrie and left a very long message about how much I loved her eggplants (that sounds ruder than the way I said it.  I promise I was very wholesome), and how Nissa loved it so much that she ate a whole plateful and then frisbeed her plate across the room when she found out that there were no more.  I told Carrie how we honestly didn't even LIKE eggplants but thanks to her we were now changed Georges.  Eggplants were no longer just to be lovingly adored from afar in this house!  Hooray and huzzah!

Carrie emailed me the next day and said that it was the best message ever, probably because I had it on speaker the whole time and we were all acting like we were on eggplant crack.  She also said that it was very funny to get a message about food on Yom Kippur, which was THE DAY THAT SHE WAS FASTING.

Whoopsie.  My bad.  How insensitive was I?  Like the totally fantastic friend that I am, I not only called, but basically taunted my friend for almost five good minutes about food food food how much I love food - all while she couldn't eat anything all day long.


Carrie is a fantastic sport though, and she didn't even mind when I dubbed the recipe "Yom Kippur Eggplants".  Don't let the name fool you though - you don't have to wait until Yom Kippur to make this.  In fact,  you shouldn't wait at should make this RIGHT NOW if you can.  You won't regret it!  And then you can marvel at your inter-faith sensitivity and say that you are cool because you can make Jewish food even if you're an insensitive Muslim. Mazel Tov!

So without further ado, I give you:

Yom Kippur Eggplants
(the original recipe can be found at Beyond Salmon under the title Honey Grilled Garlic Eggplant)

Note: Aleppo chili that this recipe calls for is available in Middle Eastern markets. It’s not spicy at all, but sweet and musky. If you don’t have it, substitute it with a pinch of Spanish smoked paprika, or skip it all together (I used paprika and it tasted great).


1 eggplant (2 if using small Italian eggplants - the first time I made this I doubled the recipe. It was GOOD)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 mashed garlic cloves
1 tsp aleppo chili (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

 Here we go!
- Peel stripes of skin off the eggplant to create a zebra like pattern of skin and no-skin. This is not only decorative, but makes the skin easier to bite. Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick circles, like so:

 Pretty eggplants, all cut and peeled.  They're so gorgeous...even on the inside! 

- Lay out a large sheet of paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt on both sides and lay out on paper towels. 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 with paper towels. 

-  In a large bowl, mix honey, olive oil, garlic, chili, 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.

And THAT'S IT!  Perfectly seasoned and delicious eggplants.  You seriously can't mess this one up.  Tell me this doesn't make you want to eat your computer screen this very second:

There are tons of ways to serve these too.  Beyond Salmon gives some great starting ideas.  Make Yom Kippur eggplants:
  • With garlicky-minty yogurt as an appetizer
  • With goat cheese in a sandwich
  • With lamb as a side dish
  • With pasta or pizza as a topping
I just made boatloads and we ate it pretty much as our main dish.  I made red and white organic quinoa with vegan broth on the side, and tossed it with cauliflower and garbanzo beans and it was a really nice compliment to the eggplants.  I'm thinking of drizzling tahini sauce over everything next time - the options are limitless!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we have.  Don't fear the eggplant, friends.  JUST EAT IT!

Yom Kippur Eggplants.  If I can make them, anyone can!  Enjoy!
    blog comments powered by Disqus
    Related Posts with Thumbnails