Eggplant Curry. A delicious utilization of such a meaty berry if I ever saw one. Also known as the Aubergine or the Melongene, The problem with the eggplant is that its pulpy flesh has almost nothing in it but water.. It doesn't have a whole lot to contribute in the flavor or the nutrition departments.
It is a simple dish. Start with a super-hot pan with some toasted sesame oil in it. Add 2T of minced garlic and minced ginger, as well as a finely chopped onion. Sauté that for a few minutes, then add one medium-diced eggplant, turn the heat down to medium-high, add salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes (no, the eggplant won't quite be fully cooked yet). Now, add 2t salt, 1t pepper, 1t each of black and white sesame seeds, 2t curry powder (store-bought is okay, but real men make their own. If you're using store-bought, use 1t of it, and add 1/2t toasted ground cumin and 1/2t ground coriander. Brand name curry powder tends to be mostly turmeric and onion powder, and is a bit mild for this application), 1/2C plain yogurt, and 2 crushed dried Arbol chilies, excluding the seeds. Turn the heat down to low, and finish cooking just until the eggplant is tender. Serve over a healthy scoop of basmati rice and enjoy. This dish is well-complimented by ginger beer, might I add.
Whole Foods was solely the inspiration for this particular dish. More specifically, the Newton Centre Whole Foods having a special on beautiful fresh wild haddock- $9.99/# isn't bad for fish of this quality. Also, I stumbled upon a delicious looking chunk of raw milk Crater Lake blue cheese from Rogue Creamery in Oregon. Naturally, I bought both. Here's what I did with them.
I put a few slices of salame on the plate.. Just because I had it lying around.
For a piece of high-quality white-fleshed fish like haddock, there is no question in my mind of how to cook it: steam. Steamed products don't get all of their flavor leached out by the surrounding water in the way that poached ones so often do. And as much as I love a nice piece of fried or seared fish (such as fried catfish or Sole Meuniére), steamed fish does not lend any inevitable by-product flavors, which, though fascinating and delicious, are not what I was looking for in this dish. The potato was baked, but not conventionally. I had to get a little clever, but I did something quite interesting...
I start with half a stick of butter in an enameled iron pot over medium-low heat. Yes, it's a lot of butter, but most of it will get drained off later. To that I add 4 sliced onions and 8oz of washed young portabella mushrooms (which are actually the same species as white or button mushrooms [all three are Agaricus Bisporus], not much differs between these except color and potentially price), around a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper and ground coriander. I cook that for about 15 minutes, when I notice that the onions are a translucent brown and my whole apartment smells like good dreams. I then add about 1/2 a cup of vegetable broth. Then, I plop the fillets, after having seasoned them with the same quantities of the same seasonings as before right on top of the whole mess, as pictured. I put the lid on my pot and let is cook for only about 5 minutes: nothing is worse than overcooked fish.
Now, before I started any of this haddock shenaniganage, I had started my potatoes. Days before, in fact. I had mad some roasted garlic, by which I mean i had poached some garlic in olive oil. I then forced that softened, sweetened garlic through a sieve to make a sort of garlic paste that I keep in my fridge. It's good on about anything. Back to the present, however. So I cut the potatoes in half, salted them, and spread the garlic paste on them. Then, I smoosh the halves back together and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and bake a 375˚ for as long as it takes. When they're sufficiently cooked, I pulled the halves back apart, put a healthy chunk of blue cheese on each half, and baked for another 10 minutes at 400˚.
Before service, strain the onions and mushrooms over which the haddock was cooked, and serve. Damn good.