Hmmm, how to write this without alienating eggplant lovers? I am not the biggest fan of eggplant but I am a huge fan of Gabrielle Hamilton, owner/chef at Prune on the lower east side of NYC. To listen to her describe this smokey eggplant dish and to watch her make it on the only food show I watch, The Mind of a Chef, I had to give it a chance. It was crazy delicious and I promise you, your kitchen will smell amazing. I paired it with Orwashers Bakery's Craft Ale bread, a malty, crusty loaf with complex flavors. This is adapted from Gabrielle's appearance on season 4, episode 1 and watch The Mind of a Chef on PBS, it is not so much a food show as a food journey.
makes 1 quart (serves 6)
- 1 1/2 lbs standard purple eggplant
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- liquid from charred and steamed eggplants
- Place eggplants directly on the burners of your stove with flame set to high. Allow skin to char completely, occasionally and carefully rotating eggplant using kitchen tongs so not tear or split the skin. This will happen naturally as the flesh inside cooks and begins to bubble. When completely blackened, approximately 15 minutes, maybe longer depending on stoves BTUs, remove eggplants and place in a large stainless steel bowl.
- Cover bowl tightly with saran wrap and allow eggplants to steam until cool.
- Remove eggplants from bowl saving the smoky brown liquid and set aside
- Cut eggplants in half from stem to base and with a large spoon remove the flesh from the charred skin and place in a clean bowl. Make sure that all the blackened pieces of skin are removed and discarded.
- Strain the brown liquid through a fine mesh sieve, removing any remaining charred pieces of skin, over the eggplant flesh.
- In the bowl, cut the larger chunkier pieces of eggplant flesh with a knife. keeping the overall consistency on the chunky side.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt. Gently combine making sure not to over stir. Best served at room temperature.
- To plate, lightly drizzle olive oil on toast and place a spoonful of smokey eggplant on top.