So, C always talks about this eggplant thing he ate when he was deployed. I love eggplant, and every time I made some, he would say “oh, we should make that thing I had…” right after I had begun cooking said eggplant in a completely different way. I began to think he was a little too much talk and not enough action. Well, he has come through in a big way: he not only made the eggplant himself, but he then wrote up his recipe. It can be a main dish all on its own, or a side to roasted chicken or lamb kabobs or something. Like he says, it isn’t necessarily much to look at, but it is delicious. I had the leftovers with pita chips (of course there wasn’t any flatbread left!) and it was just as great the next day. So, thanks for the recipe, love! Now that you’re done writing, back to fetching me more snacks and wine…
Unfortch, I don't have any eggplant to photograph this week. (boo!) Stock photo courtesy of sxc
Craig’s Eggplant with Flatbread
Salt and Sass life lesson: keep it simple, keep it delicious. I’m much less eloquent than my beautiful wife; however, we made a specific dinner recently at my behest and direction, so she forced me into blogging servitude. First Salt and Sass guest post EVER. I rock.
No shit, there I was. Northern Iraq, winter 2006, Border Fort 31 across from Syria. I was deployed as part of a Border Transition Team whose job it was to embed with an Iraqi Battalion (the Border Police, in this case) and train them on how we do business. The idea was that if the Iraqi forces across the spectrum could do what we do adequately enough then all of the US forces could leave and the Iraqis could take over from there. Simple theory but you know how that goes. Anyway, to the point – this is about food, after all.
During this particular border trip I was looking for one of my team’s interpreters and found him in another room hanging out with some of the Jundi. They were cooking food for themselves on a little burner that kind of looked like a plumbing torch and offered to have me join them. Since I hadn’t had a problem getting sick with any of the food and generally enjoyed everything I had been fed, I thanked them and partook. In Iraq, especially out in the middle of nowhere, there’s nothing too fancy in the way of food, and this was no exception.
Ingredients: eggplant, onion and oil. Directions: chop up the eggplant and onion, cook it in the oil, break off a piece of flat bread, dip it into the heated eggplant mixture, make sure to blow on it and cool it off A LOT (or you end up with a giant mouth blister like my dumb ass), eat and enjoy. Simple, simple, simple… and delicious.
We’ll be a little more specific here for you at home but I hope my little vignette helps illustrate my point: keep it simple and you can still make surprisingly tasty meals.
½ White or Yellow Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2-3 pieces Flat Bread or Naan
Chop the eggplant into fairly small pieces, about ½ inch cubes. Dice the onion and mince the garlic (a garlic press works just fine). Dump (yes, dump is a cooking term) the oil, eggplant, onion and garlic into a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat. Stirring regularly, sauté everything until the eggplant is fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes (if you have no eggplant experience, it’s fully cooked when it turns a little grayish and a bit mushy – don’t let that scare you, though, it’s great). Add salt and pepper to taste, though it doesn’t need much. You can serve this however you want, straight from the pan (if you’re lazy like us), from a community plate, or on individual plates. Break off pieces off your flat bread or naan so they’re small enough to be bite size but large enough that you can grab some of your eggplant mixture, dip it in the eggplant, and eat. That’s it.
Feel free to adjust any of the amounts of the individual ingredients to fit your tastes or nutritional requirements. Simplicity allows you to easily modify recipes to fit your own needs. Also, I wish we had a flat bread recipe so you could make that part at home as well. There aren’t too many things better than freshly baked bread, in my opinion, and the flat bread they made in the Middle East and Afghanistan was amazing. Unfortunately, we haven’t found or made one that is to my liking thus far. On this particular night we used Trader Joe’s frozen Tandoori Naan, which is really pretty good, and is definitely an acceptable substitute to homemade. If we ever find a great recipe, however, I’ll be sure L lets you know.
Thanks, honey, for having me guest write, I hope I met your high standards. Salt and Sass faithful, I hope you enjoyed my musings and enjoy the eggplant. Tschüss.