Our tiny local farmers market is finally in full swing, and will stay open until October or the veggies run out, whichever comes first. A week ago I had the last batch of peas from a nearby organic farm, and they were lovely. I grew up in an era that celebrated BirdsEye frozen vegetables, so I didn't know the pleasure of peas only hours away from the farm. Yes, you still have to put in some time shelling the peas, but there's something soothing about it, and it's nice to be part of a long tradition.
Anyway, the peas were gone this past weekend, the corn is doing well, and one booth had a batch of Japanese eggplant. I said, "I want them all!" (Don't worry—it was only a pound.)
Now, what to do with eggplant… Again, something I didn't grow up eating (I was a picky eater as a child and wouldn't touch a tomato, so eggplant wasn't an option). I've come up with a variety of recipes, including one for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen for eggplant pizza that surprised me. But I'm happy to try new recipes, and I found one with an oriental flair that worked well with, yes, Japanese eggplant.
While it does involve a broiler, it doesn't take long so you won't heat up your kitchen. I don't think you could substitute a barbecue grill, but it might be worth a try.
Marinated Broiled Eggplant
1 pound eggplant (you can use one large one or several small ones)
1 Tblsp lemon or lime juice
1 Tblsp honey
1 clove minced/pressed garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (peeled if you like,
and I also added more than a teaspoon!)
Vegetable oil for pan
Whisk together the soy sauce, juice, honey, garlic and ginger. Pour into a glass baking dish or large non-metallic bowl.
Trim the ends off the eggplant and slice 1/8" thick.
Toss the eggplant slices (carefully, so you don't mangle them) in the marinade. Cover and let sit for at least 20 minutes, but not more than one hour (you don't want them to get too soggy), turning at least once.
Preheat the broiler. Brush the rack of a broiler pan (I covered mine with foil—less cleaning) with oil and distribute the eggplant evenly. Broil 5-7" below the flame (probably the upper rack in your oven) until tender and slightly browned, maybe 10 minutes. (Note: Adora has not one but two broiler heats! I used LO to cook the eggplant, and HI to brown it off a bit.)
It makes a tasty side dish for grilled meat or fish. Served here with chicken and couscous.