I got some fan mail this week.
By “fan mail,” I mean the following query:
Dear Kosher Epicurean,
I am having trouble dealing with this question because eggplant is so incredibly delicious, particularly in its oft-fried Israeli incarnations. But I recognize that some folks just can’t get behind one food or another, however crazy it may seem. So let’s try to tackle this quandary and get you and your wife eating at the same table again.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that part of your wife’s problem with eggplant is the way she sees it prepared most often in Israel – squishy and shapeless and full of oil. But eggplant does not have to be “that brown ball of mush in the bucket at my favorite falafel stand”! (I’m sorry for the cruel words, falafel-stand eggplant. I still love you.) Eggplant is an incredibly versatile vegetable and responds in beautifully varied ways to a number of different preparations. Try making eggplant chips, for example – a healthy and flavorful alternative to potato chips (or kale chips, which we all know are pretty terrible). Slice the eggplant into very thin rounds, salting the slices and leaving them in the fridge overnight to release some of their bitterness. Then drizzle with olive oil, garlic and any other seasonings of your choice and bake until crispy and crunchy. Or what about cornmeal crusted eggplant fries? Cut into sticks, dip in egg and then cornmeal crumbs, and either deep fry or bake. Serve with ketchup or a homemade dipping sauce. Here’s a more detailed recipe if you’re into that kind of thing.
Alternatively, instead of focusing on different textures, you can take the approach of a different flavor profile. In place of the eggplant and tehina dynamic duo, try eggplant with feta on a toasted crostini, in an Indian curry, or as one of a slew of colorful roasted vegetables with whole garlic cloves, olive oil, and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar.
I hope this gives you some ideas to try. If all else fails though, I happen to know your wife and I think she may like to know that eggplant contains nasunin, an antioxidant which was found to protect the lipids in your brain from damage. So… eggplant can make you smarter! Sort of? Anyway it’s delicious and I hope she decides to give it another chance!
Do you have a food quandary you would like me to explore? An ingredient you’ve been searching for but can’t find kosher? A recipe that just doesn’t seem to translate well to kosher keeping but you know there must be a way, because you really want to eat it? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to tackle it on this here blog!