Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stir-Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Basil Sauce

Every now and then, you come across a dish that feels life-altering. This can be especially true when you've just eaten -- and enjoyed -- something you thought you always disliked. If you have been reading my blog, then you know my rather negative feelings towards the eggplant. They can be bitter, tough, cold, and just a burden on the dinner plate.

You can hide the eggplant under a layer of breadcrumbs and cheese. Delicious, but really, all you are doing is masquerading the vegetable.

You can use it as one vegetable in a giant assortment, thus allowing people to politely pick around it while still eating their fill.

And then, there is this recipe. This recipe, that I believe has now forever changed my relationship to the eggplant. Light. Sweet and savory at the same time. Chewy, meaty texture. And a complex combination of flavors that not only tastes great, but also makes your entire house smell edible for hours.

Stir-Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Basil Sauce

Thai Sauce Base:
3 T asian fish sauce
1 T lime juice (1 lime)
1 tsp lime zest (1 lime)
1 T brown sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1 T + 1 tsp peanut oil
1 lb eggplant, cut into 3/4" cubes (6-7 cups)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4" pice ginger, minced (1 T)
2 scallion, sliced thin
1/2 c basil, torn into 1/2" pieces

Begin by preparing the sauce base. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or, simpler yet, in a Mason jar. Shake or whisk together until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 1 T oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over high heat until simmering. Add eggplant and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and tender, 5-7 minutes. Push eggplant to the sides of the skillet, clearing the center of the pan. Add remaining tsp oil, garlic and ginger to center of pan and quickly fry. Stir gently to combine and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and stir until combined. Add scallions and basil and quickly stir to combine. Serve over jasmine rice.

Farm box ingredients used: eggplant (lots of it), garlic, scallions, basil

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I made this last night! I was really turned off and disheartened by the smell of fish sauce; had never used it before. But I continued on, and ended up with surprisingly tasty dish! And you're right - my house smelled so warm and comforting. Thanks!