Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carrot Pickle & Fried Baby Eggplant with a Quick Spicy Salsa

Last Saturday morning I was rushing about Jean-Talon Market (in Montreal, Quebec), looking for decorative food for a food styling job I had that day, when I felt suddenly compelled to stop and take in the loveliness of a fall harvest: piles of carrots of various color, different types of radishes and parsnips, all stacked up roots facing out. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me so I had to bring some of the lovely specimens home. I also bought a small bag of photogenic baby eggplant

Multi-Colored Carrot Pickle
  • 7 or 8 medium sized carrots of various colors, washed peeled (if necessary) and julienned
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) maple syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • To taste salt and pepper
  • Toss the lot in a bowl a couple of hours before eating and leave the pickle at room temperature. Serve as a salad or as a replacement for coleslaw.

As for the baby eggplant I decided to deep fry them because its' just a great way to prepare well as most anything else you can think of. I rarely use deep frying as a cooking technique, but when I do I try to take my time and do it properly: regulating the temperature of the oil etc. When using an egg and flour mixture all I can say is do not use your hands if possible, (I use a fork). If you must: designate one hand for dry and one hand for wet or you will end up with a mess.

Quick Spicy Salsa
(serves 4) 
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes, blanched and peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • To taste salt and pepper
  • Take the first 5 ingredients and mix together. Let stand at room temperature until ready to serve with eggplant. Season to taste.
Deep Fried Eggplant
(serves 4 as an appetizer)
  • 8 baby eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  • Sufficient quantity salt
  • Sufficient quantity canola or peanut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) whole milk
  • Sufficient quantity all purpose flour
  • Sufficient quantity salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Toss the sliced eggplant in a generous amount of salt and place in a colander over a bowl or sink. Let the eggplant sit for half an hour to allow the salt to remove some of the moisture. Rinse the slices of salt and pat dry. Heat the oil on medium high in a small sauce pan. If you have a candy thermometer take care to not let the oil go above 350F. If eyeballing it do not let the oil smoke and turn it down to medium when it seems hot enough or test by dipping in a slice of eggplant. In a shallow dish whisk the egg and milk together. Pour the flour in another shallow dish, add salt and freshly cracked pepper. Flour the slices, then dip them in the egg mixture and then flour them again. Prepare them as needed putting no more than 3-4 slices at a time in the oil if using a small sauce pan (too many will bring the oil's temperature down too much and the result will be soggy oily eggplant). When the eggplant slices turn slightly golden (approximately 5 minutes), remove them with a fork and drain the cooked eggplant of a paper towel. Continue until all slices are cooked and serve immediately with the salsa or hot sauce.

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