Friday, September 16, 2011

eggplant dip by the sea

So here I am in a big house by the sea with some of my favourite moms. It's out 10th annual September weekend away together. We have a limited roster of activities when we go away:

-wear pajamas
-cook and eat
-drink wine
-go for a walk
-read a book
-drink wine
-wear pajamas
-repeat for 3 days

Thursday evening everyone arrives with appetizers for a coffee table supper before we head for the hot tub. I was lucky enough to come in Thursday afternoon, so I prepared my appetizer here at the house.

My friend Diane gave me this recipe for eggplant dip about a month ago. I have cooked it four times already. It is SO GOOD!

You begin with a big beautiful eggplant. They are delicious right now, and inexpensive. Wash it, then score the skin so it doesn't explode in the oven. Is that an old wives' tale? I have heard of - seen in fact - exploded baked potatoes. I suppose an eggplant could also explode. Score it well and thoroughly, please.

The eggplant goes in a hot oven (I set it for 425F), for about 40 minutes. You will know it is ready when it kind of collapses. This means the flesh is cooked and falling away inside the skin.

Do you like eggplant? I know that a lot of people do not. I think a lot of people who have never even tasted eggplant do not like it. Perhaps it is because cooked eggplant flesh is not usually very attractive. Here's what's inside that eggplant when you take away the skin:

Suspend all judgement about whether or not this is beautiful. It's going to be delicious. Chop up the eggplant flesh into small chunks, and also chop up some garlic (3 cloves in this case).

Heat 3 Tbs dark sesame oil in a skillet and saute the garlic for a minute or two, then add the eggplant and saute it together for a couple more minutes.

Whisk together the sauce, and stir it in to the eggplant mixture. Stir fry a minute or two longer, then remove from heat and stir in 4 or 5 big leaves of fresh basil, chopped.

1 Tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
a good squeeze of rooster chili sauce (Diane's recipe calls for minced serrano peppers)

Here's what it looks like, served up with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. It's good on almost anything, but I like it with sesame ryvita crackers.

It really does taste wonderful. My thanks to Diane for the recipe, and to nature for the wonderful goodness of eggplant. Thank you to my friends for sharing a lovely meal and a wonderful weekend, and to the sea, for its constant presence and yearly reminder of good things that last.

question: do you like the awesome aubergine?

mompoet - eggplant afficionado

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