Last week, I incorrectly stated that this weekend is the one year anniversary of WHB, which was created by our Kalyn. Wrong! It's next weekend, so if any of you would like to take part, you have a whole week to come up with a dish and join in the festivities. Go to Kalyn's site and she will give you all the info on how to be an herb blogger. Try it--you'll like it.
I picked the last of my eggplants this week and wanted to use some of them for WHB. Yesterday, I fixed a very simple dish of fried eggplant and walnut sauce from Deborah Madison's cookbook, The Savory Way. I think the dish took less than 15 minutes to make, and if I had made the walnut sauce in advance, it would have taken much less time than that. The sauce is wonderful and very healthy, as walnuts contain lovely omega-3 oil. It's taste can be changed according to the herbs you choose to add to it. In this case, I used mint.
The walnut sauce is very simple to make and improves with age, so it can be made in advance and stored for up to a week in the fridge. You simply process walnuts, a garlic clove, and bread crumbs until it has a mealy texture. Then add hot water, with the food processor going, until the sauce has the consistancy you like. Then you can add various herbs, spices, chopped scallions, yogurt, and lemon juice. I added fennel seed which becomes stronger over time, a good reason to make the sauce a few days ahead of time. I added mint, but you could use cilantro, parsley, dill, etc. I liked the idea of mint because it's a little different paired with the eggplant. I rarely buy mint since an area of my yard was colonized by it. Mint is very aggressive, but frankly I'd rather have it try to take over my yard than Bermuda Grass. However, if you plant it, you would be wise to grow it in a container. And even then it will do it's best to jump out of the pot and take over your yard.
Fried Eggplant With Walnut And Mint Sauce (Deborah Madison, The Savory Way)
4 slices of eggplant about 1/2 inch thick
safflower. olive or peanut oil
freshly ground pepper
Lightly salt the eggplant in advance and let it sit for 15 minutes, if you want. I didn't do that and my eggplant didn't taste bitter at all. Mine were freshly picked, so I don't know if that affects the fruits to not be bitter. They weren't.
Put a film of oil in the non-stick pan and heat over high heat until hot and add the eggplant pieces. Immediately turn the slices over so that the eggplant is coated with oil on both sides, then fry over medium heat until golden and soft on both sides.
Serve with the walnut sauce spooned over the eggplant and garnished with herbs of your choice.
Walnut Sauce With Yogurt And Mint
1 cup walnut meats
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2-3 teaspoons walnut oil
1/4 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
salt, freshly ground pepper
Put the walnuts, bread crumbs, and garlic into a food processor and process briefly until the texture of fine crumbs. With motor running, add 1 cup of the water. Stop and scrap down the sides and then add more water until it's the texture you want. Stir in the oil and fennel seeds and season to taste with salt and pepper. If your not going to serve it right always cover and refrigerate.
You may add chopped herbs of your choice, but I used mint. I added the following:
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon chopped mint
1 scallion finely chopped
cayenne pepper or paprika
lemon juice t taste
mint leaves, paprika to garnish