Who wants to think up a meal starring Sun Gold tomatoes and eggplant?
I'm tired, I'm cranky, and I just don't feel like stopping by the store or a takeout place on the way home. I've tried to brainstorm dinner ideas, but when I close my eyes, I see spreadsheets and unending email chains.
Help me Chowhounds; you're my only hope!
I've got a pint of lovely Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and a very nice unknown variety eggplant that I'd like to eat tonight. I also have onions and fresh garlic. Maybe a lime or two, but little else in the way of produce. Garbanzo beans in the pantry, along with a pretty substantial collection of spices. Also in the pantry: pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and farro (which I bought on a whim and have no idea what to do with.) In the freezer, I have uncooked shrimp, and some wild salmon, but I'm fine with a vegetarian meal. Oh, and I think I have a radish rolling around the fridge. Bonus point for that using that one (just kidding, please don't make me eat the radish.)
I just want something quick and tasty, that won't fry too many more brain cells. Any ideas?
Slice thin rounds of the eggplant. Put just a bit of oil in a pan and start to fry the rounds. When they need more oil, add just a bit water or stock instead; repeat as necessary. The eggplant will come out as if fried in a the usual great amount of oil - but with just a bit of oil. Let cool, dice, and mix with the quartered tomatoes. Quick saute some garlic; mix all with s & p for a semi-fresh pasta sauce. Cook pasta and mix together.
Slice radish super thin and dress with a bit of sugar & vinegar brought to a boil in the MW; add bit of olive, s & p, oil and pour radish slices and dressing over torn lettuce.
My mother makes a Syrian dish with layers of eggplant and phyllo. I usually skip the phyllo and the baking dish and just make the filling, which melts down into a delicious mush. The basic recipe is just eggplant and chickpeas, but I would roast the cherry tomatoes and throw them on top. The amount of chickpeas depends on how much eggplant you have, but you can serve it over brown rice and add a little bit.
1 eggplant, peeled in alternating stripes
1 clove garlic
1/2-1 can chickpeas
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Cut eggplant into 1" (approx) cubes.
Cut onion into slices, and carmelize until brown in olive oil in a medium pot.
When it's brown, add garlic, and saute until fragrant.
Add in eggplant cubes, and stir frequently. The eggplant will start to release water and break down. When this starts to happen, cover the pot, and stir every 5 min so nothing sticks to the bottom. If it gets really dry (it shouldnt) add a little water.
When the eggplant has totally disinterated and is bubbling, throw in the (drained) chickpeas, and stir, cooking until heated through. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. (I was taught to add spices at the end so that it doesn't toughen the eggplant)
Serve plain or over brown rice.
I usually make a few eggplants worth of this at a time, and take it for lunch till its gone.
You can also portion the eggplant mixture into ramekins and top with some shredded mozzarella or munster cheese and broil till the cheese is bubbly.
I make a sort of bastardized version of caponata, and I think the flavors would be really yummy served with quinoa or farro:
Cube the eggplant and salt in a colander for 1/2 hour to 1 hour (or not, I'm not sure how effective this step is, but I always do it anyway) and then rinse and dry the eggplant.
Saute in a little bit of oil until browned, but not necessarily cooked all the way.
Remove the eggplant and saute some finely diced / sliced onion and lots of chopped garlic with some salt, pepper and a bit more oil.
Add some vinegar (red wine and sherry work really nicely, but I bet any not-too strong vinegar would be nice, well, maybe not balsamic) and let it evaporate almost entirely.
Add the eggplant back in and then the tomatoes and let the whole thing stew. I like to add some thyme also.
Then a little sweetness (in the form of currents, raisins, sometimes i've used honey) and saltiness (capers or chopped olives, if available... or just a pinch more salt).
I've never added chickpeas, but I think they'd be pretty yummy in this too. If I have some around, I also add basil at the very end.
Taste for seasonings and voila!
Perhaps it seems a little weird, but I really like this dish and have been making a batch every weekend with the pretty eggplants that I've been seeing at the market.
wont go into details of how but here is something I do often. Chop aubergines into cubes, add salt and a pinch of turmeric, saute in olive oil till pale brown. Throw in garlic or ginger if you have any. Diced. Add cherry tomatoes and garbanzo beans, saute and turn. Salt and pepper or paprika to taste.
While this is cooking you can slather some olive oil on the wild salmon, salt and pepper and grill it. Squeeze lime juice if you want it tangy.
Pour aubergine/eggplant mixture on the salmon before you eat.
Easy, simple and no fuss.
I got some somegolds at the farmers market 2 weeks ago and they were fantastic...way better than I expected for late season tomatos. I would just halve them, salt them, toss w/ some minced garlic and basil if you have it. Let it sit while you cube salt, drizzle w/ olive oil and roast your eggplant . toss all w/ cooked pasta. yum. If you happen to have any orange infused olive oil (pantry staple at my house) a quick drizzle is ridiculously good on tomatos.