Saturday, August 20, 2011

eggplant verde

our family 
adults and children alike
gather each august
for a beach vacation
without fail, as predictable as the tides
each of us slides into our
expected role 
as if we never left it
it is instinctual

although we are all competent cooks
putting supper on the table
the remaining 51 weeks of the year
each for our own brood
i am easily coaxed
into cooking
big family dinners

the kitchen is where i do my best work
and my siblings lovingly recognize it

my sister in law
anxious to learn new things
was my willing sous chef
i am happy to report
successfully duplicated this
at a dinner party of her own

i love this recipe
for its simplicity
it can be served
cool or room temperature
artfully showcasing
the beauty of eggplant
melanzane verde
1 large eggplant--cut into 1/4" thick slices
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
3 Tbs finely chopped coriander
2 garlic cloves--finely chopped and smashed to a paste
generous pinch crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
generous pinch kosher salt (more or less to taste)
juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/2 -3/4 cup good olive oil
2 oz chevre

layer the eggplant between paper towels to dry at least 4 hours but as long as overnight.  put the parsley, coriander, garlic, red pepper, and lemon juice in a bowl. add enough olive oil to make a loose dressing.
cook the eggplant:
heat a skillet (it does not have to be non-stick) over medium heat. let it get warm before placing slices of the eggplant directly on it. do not add oil, butter or spray.  the eggplant will not stick.  watch it carefully and cook until it is lightly browned and softened.  i tend to pay attention and flip each one 4 or 5 times before it is fully cooked through.  cook in batches and arrange the warm pieces on your serving platter. as each layer is placed on your a bit of dressing on each piece..use the back of a spoon to spread it. do not saturate, you only want a tasting, not a drowning.  sprinkle a bit of salt on each layer as you go.  once you have cooked and layered all of the eggplant, sprinkle the chevre evenly over the top. serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. this can be made a full day in advance. i like to take it out of the refrigerator about a half of an hour before serving.
the leftover dressing is wonderful on steaks, chicken and shrimp..or just to dip your bread in.  while there is little chance of leftover eggplant, it is wonderful added it to sandwiches and morning omelets.


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