I am a sucker for any recipe that includes cilantro, jalapeño, ginger, and garlic. Throw eggplant into the mix, and I am in food heaven. My sister, on the other hand, didn't always share my enthusiasm for eggplant. Until she ate this eggplant, that is. Kim was staying with us one night after work a few weeks ago; and I texted her to let her know that I had left some food for her in the kitchen--pesto pasta, salad, a side of sautéed eggplant. She arrived shortly after 9:30 and happily ate the pasta with pesto and salad, but she poo-pooed the eggplant. Then, as she came closer to the dish dressed in a bright green cilantro sauce and got a whiff of its intoxicating flavors, she was intrigued and couldn't resist a taste. And now she's a total convert. You see, the last time Kim had eggplant--decades ago back in PA--she said it was awful; and she never gave it a second chance. This dish is far from awful; in fact, it's downright delightful. So for all you eggplant naysayers out there, try this. You, too, will thank me. You can also thank Epicurious (one of my most favorite recipe resources). The only thing I added to their recipe below is the mirin sauce as the final step. It adds a sweetness to the dish that we all love. But it's pretty delicious without it, as well.
Makes 4 Servings
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stems trimmed
- 5 tablespoons of chicken broth (I use stock)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 small jalapeño chili, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- One eggplant (about 1 1/4 pound), cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wide slices, then cut crosswise into 3/4-inch wide strips
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Combine cilantro, 1 tablespoon broth/stock*, green onions, garlic, chili and ginger in food processor (or blender) and puree until paste forms. *(I add all 5 tablespoons of stock at this point instead of adding the rest to the pan in step 3. Your choice.)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add half of eggplant. Cover skillet and cook until eggplant is tender and beginning to brown, turning once, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining eggplant.
- Add cilantro paste and soy sauce to skillet and stir over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Return eggplant to skillet and add remaining 4 tablespoons broth. Stir until sauce thickens and boils and eggplant is heated through, about 3 minutes. Add mirin, mix and season with salt and pepper.