Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fried eggplant with hot chiles

I have learned that taste is totally subjective, especially with respect to saltiness and spiciness. At our restaurant, we have a constant debate about the right amount of salt for our soups. I prefer less, but our cooks prefer more. Our customers have joined in the debate, and there is seldom a consensus opinion. The same is true when it comes to heat. Some think our chicken tortilla soup is too spicy, and others dump tabasco on top.

I am a total wimp when it comes to eating spicy food, and am perfectly content to have nothing that is even remotely hot. This has been a source of conflict because many of David's favorite restaurants prepare dishes that bring tears to my eyes and a burn to my throat. The compromise has been that we order items that are not too hot, and then he dumps hot sauce and sriracha on everything.

When David selected a recipe for fried eggplant with hot chiles, I was excited to try a new eggplant dish, but the jalapenos made me nervous. My fears were not allayed when David showed me that the recipe called for using the whole chile, including the pith which includes all the heat. But we trust Bsisu, and decided to stick to the recipe as written.

The results were suprisingly tasty, and not at all spicy. The jalapenos just added a depth of flavor to the dish. David served these with a dollop of Fage Greek yogurt just in case I needed to cool down. The yogurt made a great dip for the eggplant, and I would recommend that you do the same.  Our garden is producing so much eggplant, and so many jalapenos, its wonderful to find a recipe that uses them together to such good effect.
Fried Eggplant with Hot Chiles
(adapted from The Arab Table by Mary Bsisu)


3          lbs             eggplants (we used a mixture of varieties
                             from the garden)
1          clove         garlic, smashed
1          TB            fresh lemon juice
1          TB            white vinegar
1          C              vegetable oil
4-6                       jalapeno peppers
                            ground sumac for garnish
                            Fage yogurt

  1. Remove eggplant skins with vegetable peeler, leaving a few thin strips of skin on each.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1/2" thick circles.
  3. Combine garlic, lemon juice and vinegar.  Set aside.
  4.  Heat vegetable oil over high, then fry eggplant slices until edges darken and centers are golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to paper towels to dry.
  5. Make a slit in each jalapeno and remove seeds.  Then fry them in the same oil used for the eggplants.  Remove when the peppers blister and turn white all over.  Transfer to paper towels to dry.
  6. Mix eggplant slices with the lemon garlic sauce.  Add the fried jalapenos.  Sprinkle with sumac
  7. Serve with warm pita and yogurt on the side.

Fried eggplant with hot chiles made the Foodbuzz Top 9 today! The Foodbuzz Top 9 is a photo-driven collection of top-buzzed posts within the Foodbuzz community.  Congratulations again, and thanks for being a part of Foodbuzz!
Cheers, The Foodbuzz Editorial Team

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