|To match a Russian Feast...
Eggplant with Garlic
A brisk tour through eggplant, garlic, and cilantro
- I n g r e d i e n t s -
3 Eggplants - medium to small ones, less than 1 pound each
Salt - enough to make a paste with the garlic, and season the eggplant
Olive Oil - about 1 cup, or you can use Olive Oil in a spray can
Garlic - 8 or more cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Cilantro - 1 bunch of Fresh Cilantro chopped
- T o o l s -
Knife, Cutting Board, Paper or Cloth Towels for draining the eggplant,
Large Frying Pan with Cover, Spatulas for turning and spreading, Mortar and Pestle,
A brightly colored Serving Dish with a lip to it
- T h e B i g P i c t u r e -
This a homey dish to satisfy the garlic lovers among us, but there still isn't enough garlic
for your therapeutic dose (3 cloves). Eggplant will soak up as much oil as you give it,
which will make it heavy. So the use of a non-stick skillet and using the Trader Joe's
Olive Oil Spray in a can gets the oil on the eggplant without over dosing it.
It is best to make this dish the morning of the feast. But chop and cover the slices with the
Cilantro at the last practical moment. Also substituting one fifth of the Cilantro with Parsley
will give it a little more zing. This will be enough appetizer for 20+ people.
- T h e E g g p l a n t F r y -
The night before, or the morning of the feast, fry up your egg plant.
Do not peel the Eggplant or it will turn into mush.
Cut it into rounds 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle each slice sparely with salt on each side.
Let the slices drain on a paper towel for 30 minutes. Rinse the slices and pat dry with a towel.
Heat the large skillet for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat. Either add about a
Tablespoon of Olive Oil to the pan or spray Olive Oil on the slices of Eggplant.
Cook over the medium-low heat, covered for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
The slices should be soft and slightly browned before removing from the heat.
Take them out of the pan and let them drain of any oil on a towel.
Repeat with the rest of the Eggplant slices, adding oil accordingly.
Lay them out on a flat surface for the next step.
- T h e G a r l i c G o o -
In a mortar, using a pestle, mish up 2 teaspoons of salt and the 8+ cloves of Garlic
until it makes a paste. You are going to lightly spread each slice of Eggplant on one side,
so if you ended up with a lot of slices, adjust the amount of Garlic Paste upward.
Lightly spreading on one side of each slice.
Cut each slice in half and arrange it on the serving plate.
- T o T h e A p p e t i z e r T a b l e -
If it isn't already, let the half-slices of Eggplant come to room temperature.
At the last practical moment add the Cilantro. Wash, sort, and chop 1 bunch of Cilantro.
You do not have to take the leaves off the stems, rather just chop more finely as you get
toward the stems. If the size of your serving dish is such that the slices are covering
one another, remove the top slices and start to sprinkle with the chopped Cilantro saving
some of it. Put on the rest of the slices and finish sprinkling with the Cilantro.
You are ready for the party.
We would like to thank Darra Goldstein
The author of At the Dacha, Russian Home Cooking
This book is out of print, and it must be loved because it's hard to find used ones,
but she has others. Go to Amazon.com and type in Darra Goldstein in the search box.
We have adapted her recipes here and there, but done under the watchful eye of Andy Zaharoff.