The past half-dozen years or so, I’ve been planting eggplant. It’s a vegetable that not a lot of gardeners I know include in their gardens. I’m looking forward to a good crop this summer after a disappointing one last year. I like to use eggplant in marinara sauces. Usually, I saute sliced eggplant in olive oil and then freeze it for later use.
The purplish-colored vegetable is used in many different cultures. The Greeks like to use it in mousakka, a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce that is baked to golden perfection.
The Chinese also like to cook with eggplant. Chinese cooks usually prepare eggplant with strong seasonings, simmered in richly flavored sauces. This makes the dishes an excellent accompaniment for rice and congee. Leftovers keep well overnight in the refrigerator and may be reheated the next day for lunch.
For those who like Chinese food, the following recipe, courtesy of New Asian Cuisine, will be sure to please.
Garlic Ginger Eggplant Stir-Fry
4 Asian eggplants
3 tablespoons oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 slices fresh ginger, minced
3 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili paste
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
½ to 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Halve the eggplants lengthwise, then cut each half into 2-inch pieces.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and when hot, add the eggplants, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until the eggplants begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add the green onions and chili paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Sauce and stir to combine all the ingredients. Add the water and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.
Yield: Serves 4.