I know I should probably be writing about pumpkin (and I have one on my counter, waiting to be roasted), but with such a hot fall, the vestiges of summer are still with us and shouldn’t be ignored.
Last weekend, a group of us went to my CSA farm for a tour. We each got to bring home a few treasures, and mine included these slender Japanese eggplant.
My husband has been working evenings and weekends, so it had been a while since we’d gone on a real date. Late last month I won a gift certificate to Del Mar Rendezvous, an upscale Chinese restaurant about 20 miles north of us.
The restaurant has a good selection of vegetarian (also vegan and gluten-free) options, one of which was Yu-Shiang Eggplant. Normally I’m happy when my husband likes a vegetable, but this meant I had to share. Mixed feeling abounded, but we both loved the dish.
Japanese eggplant in hand, I knew their destiny.
The benefits to eating this at home instead of the restaurant:
- Cheaper for ingredients, gas, and time.
- No loud family on one side of us wearing jean shorts of questionable decency.
- No awkward first date with an aging frat boy trying too hard on the other side of us.
- Having to do the dishes myself.
- No table service.
- Miles instead of a block from the ocean.
Either way, I got to enjoy this delicious dish with my honey – a win-win.
My version may not be authentic, but it only has a few basic ingredients. Also, eggplant is a notorious oil sponge, so I used just a touch of oil to start, then finished it off with a little steam action. It has a chance to brown nicely before cooking through for a silky texture.
It may have snowed where you live already this fall, or you may be waiting out a storm this week. I hope you’re all safe, and when the skies clear, if you find some eggplant at the store or market, that you enjoy this dish with someone you love.
Even if it means that you have to share.
P.S. I’m talking about relationships in my newsletter tomorrow, so make sure you’re on the list!
- 4 (about 8 ounces) Japanese eggplant
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut or peanut oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- sesame seeds and scallions for garnish
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 servings