Wednesday, November 17, 2010
When I have a chance to put my feet up for a little bit, I often find myself trolling the food photo sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker, oohing and aahing over many of the beautiful culinary creations, the gorgeous photography, and the inspiration to expand my own recipe repertoire. This simple but unbelievably delicious recipe is a result of one of those trolling sessions.
The Split Pea fame, posted this recipe from her parents' native Albania. As a fellow eggplant-lover, I was anxious to give it a try.
I was unable to locate any Chinese eggplants at my local grocer's but was able to locate some slender Italian aubergines. Perfectly acceptable! I bought two but one sufficed for my meal.
While Eralda leaves her garlic totally raw, I decided not to mince mine quite so fine, putting the garlic along with the olive oil called for in the dressing into a small ramekin and microwaving the mixture for about 30 seconds. It was just enough to take the "bite" out of the garlic, leaving it a bit softer and mellower. Heating the oil a bit with the garlic also pleasantly flavored the olive oil.
This is a delicious salad and I will be making it often. Thank you, Eralda!
6-7 small Chinese eggplants (or 2 slender Italian eggplant)
3 tablespoons whole wheat or unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil for frying
1 medium garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt for sprinkling the salad (Eralda used fleur de sel, so I did, too. Perfection!)
Wash, remove ends, and slice the eggplants lengthwise (1/4 inch). Mix the flour, salt, and pepper into a dish or pie plate. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet. Toss the eggplant slices in the flour mixture.
When the oil is hot, add the eggplant slices in on layer. Cook on high heat (the higher the temperature of the oil the less oil they will absorbe) until brown on each side, about 1 minute or less per side. To test for doneness, pierce with a fork. If the fork is easily inserted, the eggplant is done.
Remove eggplant from heat and drain on paper towels. Arrange on a plate, sprinkle with the garlic*, salt, and drizzle with the olive oil and the vinegar.
*Alternatively, put the minced garlic and olive oil in a ramekin and microwave for 20 - 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and whisk in the red wine vinegar. Season the cooked eggplant with salt & pepper, and drizzle the garlic, olive oil & red wine vinegar dressing over the plated eggplant.