Sunday, 20 March 2016

Eggplants: Queen of Vegetables (or Fruits if you're a botanist)

 Autumn is one of my most favourite times of year; not just for the settled, balmy weather but for all the autumn produce available. I grieve for my own garden, but I've had someone looking after it while we've been here in Wanaka for the summer, even though it's been largely just keeping the weeds under control. It's been nice to be away from the humidity of the North Island, in any case - here it's hot and dry most of the time, and at least I'll have self-sown herbs and a crop of tomatillos to go back to - maybe some figs too, as they're a late cropping variety.
Eggplants are so good at the moment - plentiful and cheap, and so versatile. In any case, eggplants have been great this summer and are still plentiful - this recipe isn't new, I first published it in a column in 2010, and again in my 'Vegetarian Kitchen" in 2011, but I keep going back to it as a simple but delicious side to a main dish, or even served as an entree. Easy!

                                               - with Yoghurt/Mint dressing                                        

Serve hot or at room temperature.
Serves 4-6. Not suitable to freeze.

500g eggplant (1 large)
1 tsp salt (first measure)
¼ cup flour
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt (2nd measure)
freshly ground pepper
oil for frying

Slice the unpeeled eggplant into 1-1.5 cm(1/2 inch) rounds and salt lightly on both sides with the first measure of salt. Place in a colander to drain for 30minutes.
Pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the flour, coriander, turmeric, 2nd measure of salt and the pepper in a small dish.
Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture and shake off any excess.
Heat enough oil to shallow fry the eggplant – you may have to add more during the cooking time. Fry until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Drain on paper towels before transferring to a serving dish (either warm or at room temperature)with the yoghurt/mint dressing.

Yoghurt/Mint Dressing

½ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
1 tsp caster sugar
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped mint (or coriander) leaves

Combine all ingredients.

No comments: