Dinner Tonight: Steamed Spicy Eggplant

My previous experimentation with eggplants scorched them on an iron skillet to create this wonderful smokey baba ghanoush, so I was a little worried about the gentle steaming I was in for with these guys. Well, only slightly worried considering Jean-Georges Vongerichten penned the recipe. This comes from his Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges. I jumped on it because it’s one of the very few recipes in the book that could be done fairly quickly and without thirty ingredients.

There was only one ingredient I couldn’t find. The recipe calls for Shaoxing wine, but my humble Mid-West wine store didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. I wasn't sure quite what to do, so I did what I would normally do for a wine I couldn't find: I used vermouth. I’m pretty sure the characteristics didn’t match up, but you can’t really deny the majesty of these eggplants. Just after a quick dip in this sauce, they picked up this wonderful depth and heat. It’s quite different than the scorched skin method, and a vast improvement over this Jacques Pepin recipe I tried last year.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a co-founder of The Paupered Chef, a blog dedicated to saving time and money while enjoying food in every way possible. He sells wine for a living and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Dinner Tonight: Steamed Spicy Eggplant

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About This Recipe

Yield:3-4
This recipe appears in: In Season: Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Japanese eggplants, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry vermouth

Procedures

  1. 1

    Bring a large pot of water to boil.

  2. 2

    Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. And then cut those pieces in half crosswise.

  3. 3

    When ready, set a steamer basket or some device above the boiling water. Toss in the eggplants and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.

  4. 4

    While that’s cooking, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the garlic and cook 4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the garlic to a large bowl.

  5. 5

    Add the scallion, chili paste, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and vermouth to the large bowl. Mix until combined.

  6. 6

    When the eggplant is done, toss in the large bowl and gently toss together. Serve while warm.

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