Eggplant is really one of my all time favorite foods. Any excuse to make eggplant something and in summertime we can pick them right off of the vine here in our garden – thanks to Ed Lynch! Our friend Victoria Goldfarb called and invited us for another Shabbat dinner and to see Eden and meet Eden’s boyfriend Leo – from Paris. Yes. Lovely evening. I happened to have leftover walnut sauce from the dinner that I made the weekend before for Virginia Ripley and her girlfriends (pre-pre wedding dinner) so the natural thing for me to bring was one of my all time favorite recipes – broiled eggplant with walnut sauce – from my new favorite cookbook “The Savory Way,” by Deborah Madison who, for those not in the know, was the brains behind one of the all-time world’s most amazing vegetarian restaurants called ‘Greens’ in San Francisco.
It’s a restaurant that has withstood the test of time. The first time I ate there was probably 35-years ago. So fine. So amazingly good. So vegetarian all the way. One of my favorite places AND it’s on the water in San Francisco so it’s beautiful that way too. Taking a trip up north is great for so many reasons and this is definitely one of them. Oh and the eggplant is great in a sandwich the day after –with or without the walnut sauce.
Broiled Eggplant with Walnut Sauce
(-adapted from ‘The Savory Way’ by Deborah Madison)
Ingredients for Eggplant:
Eggplants (however many you want – I usually use 3 nice big round ones) Safflower, light olive oil or peanut oil Minced parsley
Ingredients for Walnut Sauce:
1 cup walnut meats
1 small garlic clove
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 ½ cups boiling water (if needed for consistency)
2 to 3 tsp walnut oil
¼ tsp crushed fennel seeds
Directions for Broiled Eggplant:
Cut the eggplant into round slices about ½” thick, lightly salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then blot with a paper towel to draw off the liquid.
Put the eggplant slices on baking sheets but do not crowd too much. Brush the top with oil and then turn each piece over and then brush that side with oil.
Put in the oven to Broil.
Cook about 3 inches from the heat until very dark on top. Flip over and broil that side too. I like them charred. If you need more oil – use it. If you need to cook them for more time – cook them. It’s a forgiving recipe and you want the eggplant to be dark on the outside and soft on the inside.
Directions for Walnut Sauce:
Put the walnuts, garlic, and bread crumbs into the food processor and process briefly until everything is combined and bread-crumb like. With the motor running gradually pour in a cup of water. Turn off the motor and scrape the sides and add more water. Add as much water as you want in order to meet your desired consistency. Stir in the oil and fennel seeds. Voila!
Place the broiled eggplant on a platter. Drizzle the walnut sauce over the plattered eggplant with a little bowl of sauce on the side. Garnish the platter with chopped up parsley.