This is, I hope, what a lot of my posts will be about because food is a huge, consuming passion for me. (Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds) Dinner last night, thrown together between bouts of baby fussiness, was sauteed vegetables over cous-cous. Easy, versatile and I won't bother posting a recipe except to say that I used zucchini, onions, garlic, peppers and some yellow wax beans I had hanging around. The trick is to stir in cilantro and mint at the end, and sprinkle on the feta of course. But what was really amazing was this little dish I threw together as a side.
I had picked up a couple of beautiful Japanese eggplant at the farmer's market on Sunday and remembered seeing a recipe that I had wanted to try in the July/August edition of Food Network Magazine.
Sidenote: as a chef and food snob, I was totally prepared to hate this magazine, I thought it would be a list of what celebrity chefs were doing and whatnot. But when I was in the hospital giving birth to my son, my sister-in-law brought me a copy and I am happy to say I was wrong. There are of course the celebrity chef bits, but there are also a ton of great recipes. This was one of them.
Back to the post, I threw it together the other day and tried it last night, and now can highly recommend it to you. I give you:
Stuffed Eggplant with Walnuts
From: July/August 2010 Food Network Magazine. Posted without permission
1/2 cup bulgur
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped (I used a sweet onion instead, it worked fine)
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 cup fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used tarragon vinegar)
crumbled feta cheese
Put the bulgur in a bowl, add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let sit until the water is absorbed and bulgur is cooked, about 15 minutes. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the eggplant halves in the skillet, sprinkle with salt, place another skillet on top and press down adding a couple of cans for weight. Cook 6 minutes. Remove the skillet and cans, flip the eggplant, sprinkle with more salt and recover and cook another 5 minutes. They should be golden brown and flat. (If you don't use enough oil the eggplant will stick) Transfer to a plate to cool.
Put the vegetables and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they go from coarsely chopped to finely chopped. Add the herbs, ground coriander 1 tsp. salt and some black pepper and pulse until smooth. Add bulgur and vinegar and pulse once or twice to combine. Spread this mixture on one half of the eggplant and sandwich with the other half. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour, though chilling overnight didn't seem to harm it any. Serve with crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil. I found that a squeeze of lemon juice really brightens it up though, so add that too.