Simple and Comforting Eggplant Recipes – Los Angeles Times

While the rest of the country may have a head start on hearty, comforting cold-weather soups and stews, I like that “summer” produces longer sticks here in Southern California. For example, my latest Aubergine Bourguignonne recipe, which combines the comforting soul of traditional stew with tender, summery eggplant.

The recipe was inspired by a meal I had at Septime in Paris in July – cooked aubergines coated in a rich brown chicken sauce adorned with tiny mushrooms and strips of cured ham. Ironically, it brought me back to life amid the notorious heat wave.

It was clear to me (thanks, French cooking school training) that this was a Burgundy-style preparation, but the eggplant made it wonderfully light for such a hot day. It made me want to try to recreate it at my home in Los Angeles.

Developing this eggplant bourguignon stew also made me think of all the other fantastic eggplant dishes that are perfect for this time of year.

My friend Susan Vu has a quick Sichuan-style roasted eggplant with pork recipe that makes quick work of the traditionally long-simmered pork gravy. It’s the perfect accompaniment to tender, roasted Japanese eggplant.

I use equally tender and small Chinese Eggplant for my Pan-Seared Eggplant with Spicy Glazed Peanuts. A 10-minute sauté chars the eggplants and cooks them until silky-smooth inside. While they are resting, I cook scallions and ginger with peanuts, honey and chili flakes for a tasty sauce to pour on top. Serve it with rice and dinner is ready in less than 45 minutes.

Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco also uses Chinese eggplant for his Taiwanese eggplant. It’s a bit of a project – jewish brines, then fry the eggplant pieces – but totally worth it. Incredibly smooth-textured eggplants are tossed in a glaze of Fresno peppers, garlic and oyster sauce until shelled and packed with flavor.

And for a dish of fried and stewed eggplant, I love Hasiba’s Honey Marinated Eggplant. The marinade coats the soft eggplant in a sweet and sour mixture of honey with balsamic and sherry vinegars, chilled in the fridge for hours so all the flavors and juices can blend.

Fried Eggplant with Spicy Glazed Peanuts

Glazed Peanuts are a versatile topping for covering virtually any steamed or roasted vegetable, especially broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. Here you can use tender Japanese eggplants, but you will need double that for this recipe as they are half the size of Chinese eggplants. And if you can’t eat peanuts, cashews or almonds would make a great substitute.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 25 minutes.

(Silvia Razgova / For the times)

Burgundian Eggplant

Inspired by the classic French dish, chunky chunks of eggplant replace chuck of beef in this vegan version. Use any type of fresh and dried mushrooms you can find and like; they all work well here. And look for smaller, narrower Japanese, Chinese, or fairy tale eggplants.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 1h45.

Closeup of a plate with stew and couscous.

(Katrina Frederick / For Time)

Sichuan Cheating Pork Roasted Eggplant

Crispy, mushroom-flavored chili soy sauce adds umami and depth to ground pork for a faster Szechuan pork sauce rotation. Served on eggplant, the contrasts of textures and flavors balance each other out wonderfully.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.

Overhead view of a plate with stir fry and white rice in a bowl to the side.

(Lindsay Kreighbaum / For The Time)

Taiwanese Eggplant

During frying, the brine water from the eggplant turns into steam and makes the eggplant creamy and not oily at all. Oyster sauce, soy sauce, and garlic are cooked with eggplant to glaze it with tons of flavor.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 25 minutes, plus 1 hour brining.

A bowl with eggplant slices.

Eggplant marinated in Hasiba honey

Chefs Or Amsalam and Alexander Phaneuf of the cult hummus Hasiba serve this must-have marinated eggplant dish. Their recipe combines silky texture, acidity and richness (courtesy of olive oil) in every bite.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.

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