Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Eggplant Appreciation 101

After surveying a variety of opinions and insights regarding eggplant, I noticed a pattern in the responses. Most of them involved cries of "yuck", "eww", or at best, a blank stare.
This ignited an overwhelming determination in me to reverse such unsubstantiated, hurtful, and apathetic reactions toward this vegetable from a snarling 'yuck' to a satiated 'yum'. Was this mission an impossible one?
..sigh....What a burden to carry on my shoulders, I think.

But wait! First I had to quell my own apathetic and dispassionate views of eggplant. It has such a lovely purple and velvety skin that has always caught my eye when produce hunting, but I've never had outrageously exciting eggplant experiences that would lead me to make such a purchase. I have no gastronomical recounts that incite warm fuzzies or fond flashbacks.
So before trying to change everyone else's opinion, I figured I should start small, and focus solely on my own.

And how did I propose such reformation? By adding a little bowtie pasta and garlic to the eggplant. Why not?
**Wouldn't it be great if the rest of the world's problems had such simple resolutions? Alright Israel and Palestine, stop trying to kill each other and eat your bowtie pasta. There you go. Much better.

This is a rough interpretation of Jamie Oliver's Eggplant Rigatoni that I figured I'd have a go at.
I don't know that I'll necessarily have "warm fuzzies" when I recount this meal, but it did taste mighty de-lish.

Bowtie Eggplant

Bowtie Eggplant on Spicy Lavash Crisp

1 firm ripe eggplant, halved
Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion, sliced
1-2 roma tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup marinated mushrooms, diced (if fresh, add a bit more balsamic to the recipe)
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Salt and Black Pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp basil
1 Tbs. parsley
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 lb bowtie pasta
Parmesan cheese

Spicy Lavash Crisp
a few piece of lavash bread
olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. On a foil covered pan, roast the eggplant, tomato, onion, and garlic for up to 30 minutes. You can oil, salt, and pepper the veggies before roasting, if you'd like (yes I would like).
2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water, drain, and set aside.
3. With a spoon, remove the seed from the eggplant and peel off the tough skin. It appears to be moosh. This is good. Put the moosh in a large, lightly oiled skillet. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Mix in the pasta. Sprinkle some parmesan on top.

1. Mix the oil and spices together. Brush on the lavash and place in toaster or oven until baked to your preferred crispiness.

Feeling warm fuzzies? Go see a doctor.
Just kidding.


At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing another wonderful idea with us. I enjoy reading your blog everyday and just wanted to say THANKS for sharing! me

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous dad said...

our group has taken a vote - we want a meatloaf recipe!

At 5:55 PM, Blogger MonkeyBites said...

Hey cool. Thanks!
Meatloaf, eh? Duly noted. Stay tuned!

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

...and you're politically savvy too! Now we can proclaim world peace (or peas). We still have Iran and North Korea to contend with. Perhaps you can come up with a recipe for them as well. I can't wait to read what you come up with.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

"gastronomical recounts that incite warm fuzzies"

... OMG 0_0

as for north korea, hmmm, marbled meat, soaked in a sweet sauce, and broiled... add rice and some kimchi and you got a meal!!!


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