Friday, August 04, 2006

Eggplants with Cilantro

Remember these stripy eggplants? I picked them up last week at Maxwell Farm, in Union Square on Mondays. I had half a bunch of cilantro, and I thought I might try to reproduce an eggplant recipe I enjoyed at the Mandarin Café a Georgian restaurant in Sheepshead bay. The recipe would be more authentically Georgian if the eggplants were roasted rather than grilled, and the balsamic vinegar is also a bit of an interloper, but I am very enthusiastic about this recipe. It is so delicious your eyeballs can just explode into atoms. When you grill these little guys, their flesh just melts into the mildest, softest eggplant custard with barely enough volition to hold their exquisite shapes. I think any of the longer “Asian-style” eggplants will most closely approximate these results. The stripes fade when they cook, but they are still gorgeous.

I have since prepared this recipe again with little globe eggplants, and while it was wonderful, they did not have quite the same melting softness.

Eggplants with Cilantro

10 tiny purple striated eggplants, about 13 ounces, or any tender-fleshed eggplant

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

5 cloves garlic, mashed and coarsely chopped

½ bunch cilantro (generous ½ cup chopped leaves)


Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise if they are tiny, or in slices about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle he cut surfaces with salt and leave to drain in a colander for about an hour.

Pat the eggplants dry, and brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Heat an iron grill on the stove and rub with a bit of olive oil. Grill the eggplant slices on both sides.

Place the cooked eggplant slices in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Mix together the garlic, cilantro, a little more of the vinegar, and some olive oil and pour the herb mixture over the eggplants. Mix gently, salt to taste, and allow the salad to relax for an hour or more. Serve cool or at room temperature.

More new world fusions at Weekend Herb Blogging.

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Blogger Kalyn said...

Very nicely done. I especially like the part about this being so delicious your eyeballs can explode into atoms!

10:15 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Thanks kalyn, I was hoping you would like that bit. So--do I win?

10:14 PM  
Anonymous lindy said...

This sounds delectable, but am more than a bit squeamish when it comes to eyeballs, exploding, squishing, and the like. I was always utterly terrified by those peeled grape pretend eyeballs people used to offer a kid at Halloween,even after I was in on the trick.

I hope to confine myself to, oh- extreme rapid-firing synapses in response to the eggplant..If that's okay.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous sher said...

Looks wonderful! I picked some of those from my garden yesterday and stir fried them with black bean sauce. They are very creamy tasting, more delicate than the standard black eggplants. The plants were also very prolific, so I could pick them when they were small.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Sorry to report that Lydia was the winner. I was not attempting to judge them on quality! Just a simple drawing. It was fun and helpful for me. The book is great. I bet you could get a used one on for pretty cheap. I got the one I gave away at a book outlet for just a few dollars. I have a feeling you would really like it. There is also one on vegetables, same publisher. I really like that one too. Let me know if you want more info.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Shaula Evans said...

I was looking at some beautiful Asian eggplant at the market yesterday and wondering what to do with I'll definitely have to go back and pick them up to try this. Thank you!

11:36 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

lindy, that shoud be fine.
sher, Are they not the living end? Glad you're enjoying them, and a respite from the heat.
kalyn, ah well, better luck next time. . .
shaula, I am thilled if I inspired you to get these! I look forward to reading what you do with them.

3:33 AM  
Blogger La Gringa said...

I have a question, Chocolate Lady: I am growing Ping Tung Long eggplants which look very much like the eggplants in your picture but without the stripes and they aren't tiny (well, maybe they aren't the same then?). When I slice them, they immediately start turning dark. Is that okay or should I skip the draining part?

I'm so excited to find a recipe that I actually have all the ingredients for! Love your site.

3:55 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

la gringa,

I don't think you need to skip the draining part. I was wondering why some varieties of eggplant turn dark faster than others, but they all seem to work well.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Chia said...

I love eggplants and eat them often (mostly grilled), so thanks for the recipe!

Kind regards from The Netherlands.

We call the eggplant 'aubergine'.

5:35 PM  
Blogger annulla said...

Just found you while searching for Georgian eggplant recipes. I'm trying to reproduce a salad I had in Brighton Beach.

Great blog - you are making me very hungry.

10:47 AM  

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