Eggplant with Herbed Walnut Sauce in Memory of Sher
I am shocked and sorrowed by the sudden loss of Sherry Cermak, creator of What did You Eat?, one of the first food blogs with which I became acquainted, and one that has been a great source of support and inspiration. Some of Sher’s recipes, like this one for pasta with watercress (with one obvious modification) became staples of my repertoire, and others have taken up long-time residence on my to-do list, along with responding to this challenge (I have been thinking about a suitable menu for two years).
This week, food bloggers are remembering Sher by preparing her recipes. I made the Fried Eggplant with Walnut and Herb Sauce adapted by Sher from The Savory Way by Deborah Madison. This dish is vivid, pungent, fragrant, and thrumming with the flavors of midsummer, just like Sher herself. I used curly parsley from this week’s CSA pickup rather than mint, and I left out the fennel seeds called for in the original recipe, because I am very sensitive to fennel seeds.
Fried Eggplant with Herbed Walnut Sauce
1 medium or 2 small eggplant, cut into 1/3 inch slices
olive oil (be liberal)
Lightly salt the eggplant in advance and let it sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet and cook the eggplant slices on both sides to a deep golden brown
Walnut Sauce With Yogurt And Parsley
1 cup walnut meats (5 ounces)
1 garlic clove (I used an enormous clove; the original recipe calls for a small clove)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 to 1 cup boiling water
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley (about 3 sprigs)
cayenne pepper or paprika
Toast the walnuts in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Put the walnuts, bread crumbs, and garlic into a food processor and process briefly until the texture of fine crumbs. Take a moment to smell the hot toasted nuts and garlic. Is that not the bee’s knees? With motor running, add 1/2 cup of the water. Stop and scrape down the sides and then add more water until it's the texture you want. Stir in the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the yogurt and herbs. Garnish with paprika and lemon wedges.