Serious Eats: Recipes
Healthy & Delicious: Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce
When I cook, I tend to find a favorite vegetable and experiment until family, friends, and everyone else within a three-block radius is sick to death of seeing it on the kitchen table. Last year it was sweet potatoes and bell peppers. This year, it's eggplant. Baba ghanouj, ratatouille, Roasted Eggplant Spread, Broiled Eggplant Japonaise, and Baked Eggplant With Mushroom-Tomato Sauce have all made my dinner menu lately, to the alternating joy and consternation of my boyfriend.
Inexpensive and relatively high in fiber, eggplant is a dieter's dream food. Its density and chew rivals that of meat, and it can be prepared 134 different ways without much oil or bad-for-you additives. Take Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce, for example. It's a Patricia Wells recipe I found on Dorie Greenspan's website, and its tastiness is inversely proportionate to its attractiveness (meaning: ugly, but good). Paired with a little pasta, its a full, hearty meal with buckets of flavor and very little fat.
I made three major changes to Wells' recipe, based on what I had on hand. First, I halved the cayenne pepper. A full teaspoon seemed like overkill, and I enjoy being able to feel my tongue. Second, I substituted kosher salt for fine sea salt. Third and finally, I used two large eggplants instead of four smaller ones. I would have liked to follow the instructions to the letter, but Key Food only offers eggplants in big, bigger, and Volvo.
So, before you're besieged by apples and winter squash, give eggplant an end-of-season salute. Whether it's with Spicy Tomato Sauce or something equally as rich and wonderful, you'll be the happier for it.