::cue 15-year-old-Edward Cullen-induced-sigh::
What can I say? I have a thing for the nerdy kitchen aficionado. Alton Brown, brainy host of the Food Network's Good Eats, is one of my favorite people to watch on television. I really like how he explains the science behind each ingredient and each recipe, and I find myself mimicking his techniques in the kitchen. He even did one whole show on knife skills - how adorably nerdy is that? ::sigh::
Anyways, this eggplant recipe is from an episode I saw many times, but never really thought about making it since he only shows the recipe for about 30 seconds. However, I have heard that it's in his new cookbook and when I saw it posted on a few other blogs, I decided to give it a shot.
The eggplant is sliced and purged before you work with it, which removes a good portion of the liquid and leaves the eggplant more malleable and less raw-tasting. It's then sliced into pasta-sized ribbons and quickly satueed with tomatoes, basil, garlic, milk (cream) and cheese. All in all, it was pretty dang tasty!
However, it was not as filling as we had hoped, so even after we polished off the entire panful, Alex and I were scavenging for more dinner. I'll definitely make this again, but either as a side dish in a larger meal, or just as dinner for one. My appetite has definitely increased since I started the twice-weekly personal training and then spinning sessions!
Clearly, you have to like eggplant or you won't like this. You know it's not pasta, and it's not trying to taste like pasta, but it's a great new way to cook one of my favorite vegetables.
adapted from Good Eats
2 medium-large eggplants
Kosher salt, for purging
4 TBS olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chile flakes (use less, unless you really like the heat!)
4 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cream (I used 1% milk and it was just fine)
4 TBS basil chiffonade
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
Peel each eggplant leaving 1-inch of skin at the top and bottom unpeeled. Slice the eggplant thinly lengthwise, about 1/4-inch thick. Evenly coat each slice with the salt and purge on a sheet pan fitted with a rack for 30 minutes.
Rinse with cold water and roll in paper towels to dry. Slice the pieces into thin strips to resemble pasta.
In a large saute pan heat the oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes and toast. Add the eggplant "pasta" and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and increase heat to thicken sauce.
Finally add the basil and Parmesan and toss to combine. Season with pepper, no salt needed as the eggplant will have residual salt from the purge. Serve immediately.