Monday, August 16, 2010

Remove (Me) From Heat

In the Water Babies post , I alluded to myself "griping" about the heat......I know, me griping, surely not. I have been, though, and in all honesty it's not my style.....ok, the griping part kinda is, but complaining about the heat is not. The perfect recipe for any weather-related blues for me typically involves the dead of winter. That particular post should be proof positive that I was indeed a Summer Lover; a great fan of all things fun in the sun. I have, however, apparently and finally hit the age where all this rampant humidity is no longer sultry and sun-drenched, it's sweaty and suffocating. This past week's long flirtation with triple digit temps wore me out and in fact I think contributed to me feeling a bit puny for a few days. I didn't even feel like eating let alone cooking. Needless to say, I was welcoming the long overdue strong storm action that arrived on Friday and the cooler temperatures that followed. On Sunday, we fired the grill back up and made the most of our KC Fresh Connect produce...

We put together a haphazard and inadvertent vegetarian feast on Sunday. The goal was more to get our food prepared that we had neglected most of the week and ended up stumbling into fruit and veggie nirvana. First, let me say, I'd only used the last batch of nectarines for our Tequila Mockingbirds and after biting into one of those yellow beauties from this past week (pictured at right), I realized I'd deprived myself of their true joy. After the first taste produced a dopey(ok, dopier) grin and some leftover juice trickling down my chin, I couldn't get enough. We also received pluots in this delivery and these are plum/apricot hybrids that are deliciously sweet. The sunset-hued lovelies are pictured above left in the bowl with the eggplant,etc. It was oddly arduous to find a recipe for these so we ate them straight up or as an added treat in my breakfast smoothie.

I decided to try out a new recipe for the eggplant we received in our delivery this week that wouldn't overwhelm the taste but enhance it. I have to say it turned out beautifully, so much so that we intend to reuse it for future dinner parties. I found the recipe on www.epicurious.com and it originally came from the cookbook Salt to Taste: The Keys to Confident, Delicious Cooking by Marco Canora. The parsley mix alone was incredibly flavorful and would also be fantastic as a bruschetta topping with tomato and provolone. Make sure you read the Chef's Notes at the end, they made all the difference. Also, I made it with fresh parsley that Keith had grown himself and used the spices we had on hand: red pepper flakes and regular oregano. The final dish is pictured at the top of the page. Read on..

Grilled and Marinated Eggplant

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Sicilian
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced peperoncini or red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant (3/4 pound), peeled and sliced about 1/3" thick
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Directions

Finely chop the parsley with the capers and garlic. Add the oregano and peperoncini and chop everything together. Put the mixture in a bowl, stir in the oil, season with salt and pepper, and reserve.

Preheat an outdoor charcoal or gas grill or a grill pan until smoking hot.

Put enough eggplant slices on the grill to cover it without crowding. Cook the eggplant until well marked, 3 to 6 minutes, then turn the slices over. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes more. Remove the eggplant from the grill.

Pour the vinegar into a shallow bowl. While still hot, dip each eggplant slice into the vinegar and set it aside on a plate. Continue grilling and dipping the eggplant until all the slices are cooked and seasoned.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the parsley mixture onto a platter and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Arrange half of the grilled eggplant on the parsley in a single layer. Smear each slice of eggplant with more parsley. Place a second layer of eggplant on top and spread the remaining parsley on it. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 2 hours (or refrigerate for longer). Serve at room temperature.

Chef's notes:
You could make the parsley mixture in a food processor, but I don't. I find hand chopping gives me the somewhat drier texture I prefer.

For this recipe, I don't salt or oil the eggplant; I grill it dry. This way, it has a nice chewy texture. I marinate the eggplant as soon as it comes off the grill so the flavor of the marinade penetrates.

We served this with Grilled Corn on the Cob with a Garlic Butter from Bobby Flay...I was a little unsure of this and thought it may have had too much garlic and was pleased to discover it was a nice little accoutrement to the corn. We cut up the leftover corn for future use. We also grilled Romaine lettuce again and this time I thieved topping ideas from Kaki and J.B. via Kristy. We topped them off with balsamic, Parmesan cheese and red onions. Thanks for the steal, kids.....they were marvelous. Here's the Garlic Butter Recipe..this is based on 8 ears of corn which we pared down to half. Also, he suggests some fresh lime and cojita cheese with this as well but we went with just the butter.
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 habanero pepper, seeded
  • 1/4 bunch fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine butter, garlic, habanero, and chives in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

Wonderfully fresh KC Fresh Connect vegetables all cooked and prepared in ways that bring out their own individual flavors....that's the beauty of farm-to-table goodness.

1 comments:

Keith said...

It was truly delicious. I suggested the old standby - Eggplant Parmesan - but Greg searched out the recipe above and we were hooked. I can't wait to experiment with the marinate on other items like bruscetta or maybe a pasta salad.

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