Summer eggplant

The Handstand 1987

The Handstand 1987, pastel on paper, 30 x 41 inches

Artist Fred Stonehouse has been with us for the last ten days, making three wonderful prints.  He enjoys food and cooking so with Fred as an appreciative guest, I have felt free to cook whatever inspires me.Fred and Bud

 

The summer heat means summer veggies ─ cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant ─ are available at Zweck’s farmstand.  I cannot resist the glossy black Asian eggplant or the fat, round Italian variety. We have had grilled eggplant, soba noodles with eggplant and mango, and eggplant risotto.

eggplant

For Grilled  Eggplant, I rub the halved vegetable with lemon juice, then marinate all day in this:

Combine 1/4 cup shoyu, 1/4 cup sesame oil, 1/4 cup sherry, a couple of cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped, some grated ginger.

marinating

At dinner time, grill over a hot fire until tender, turning once.  Serve with any grilled meat or fish or simply with a bowl of rice and a salad.

grilled eggplant

Soba Salad is a little more complicated.  This recipe is based on one in Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  Sauté a large, cubed globe or Asian eggplant in a three tablespoons of safflower oil until browned and tender. Add oil if necessary.  Set aside on paper towels to drain.

saute eggplant

Cook 7-8 ounces of soba noodles in boiling water until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Watch the pot as it tends to boil over.  Blow on the rising water or add a bit of cool water to prevent an overflow.  Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside to dry.

Chop a peeled mango into 1-inch pieces, slice half a small red or sweet onion into thin rings, and prepare the dressing.

ingredients

For the dressing,  combine 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add a big pinch of hot red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, the zest of a lime and its juice, and two cloves of garlic, grated.

mango and dressing

Toss the noodles with the mango, onion, eggplant and dressing.  Add a big handful of chopped basil and one of chopped cilantro.

soba salad

This Eggplant Risotto is also based on an Ottolenghi recipe.

Burn a large globe eggplant until the skin chars and the flesh is tender.  I do this right on my gas burner.  You could use the broiler or a gas grill but the stove top is the easiest.  It gives the eggplant just the right smoky flavor. Peel away the burnt skin and chop the flesh into 1-inch pieces.

burnt

In 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté a medium onion, chopped small, then add a garlic clove, smashed and chopped.  Add a cup of Arborio rice and cook for several minutes, stirring.  Add a 1/2 cup white wine and cook until it is almost evaporated.  Start adding hot vegetable or a light chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often, until the rice is almost tender.

risotto ingredients

Add the eggplant, the grated zest of a lemon, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup grated parmesan.  Stir in a handful of slivered basil leaves.  Serve with additional parmesan on the table.  Buon appetito and happy summer!

risotto2

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