It's Earth Day and the girls' school holds many events to educate them about how they can demonstrate support for environmental protection. Sunny, my 18-year-old sister-in-law, made a vow to go vegan this week. So the idea behind this summery dish is to highlight the beauty of fine balsamic vinegar while keeping the rules that are set for Earth Week in support of what's being done worldwide. For this dish, I simply sliced large meaty eggplants and sprinkled salt over them to draw out the moisture and prevent any bitter taste or soggy texture. Then, the only thing that mattered was the flavors for the marinade.
I used quality balsamic vinegar, a bit of unsweetened cocoa, Dijon mustard as a binder, curly parsley for color and pine nuts for garnish. My favorite pairing with this dish is seafood. Stay tuned for tomorrow's recipe and see what kind of fish I cooked.
Servings: 6 servings
2 large eggplants
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
¼ cup quality balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
juice of 1 lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 clove pickled garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts (or any nut you prefer), lightly toasted
Trim and slice the eggplants lengthwise. Layer a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet (to collect the excess moisture). Place the eggplant pieces on the rack and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for 20 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. Set aside.
In a sealable jar, dissolve the sugar in lemon juice, then add the mustard. Mix well. Add 2 tablespoons cocoa balsamic vinegar, the pickled garlic and olive oil. Season with soy sauce. Cover with a lid and shake well until combined. Drizzle over the eggplants and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Brush a griddle pan with vegetable oil. Add the eggplant slices and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until you get grill marks. Transfer to a platter and let cool.
Cut the eggplants into 2-inch pieces crosswise. Drizzle them with the reserved cocoa balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with pine nuts.
Serve at room temperature.