Now it's a different story. Now those glossy purple vegetables call to me in the grocery. "Look at my smooth and shiny skin. Look at my plump firm curves. You know you want to caress me, to devour me. I'm so versatile." I get completely suckered in. Then I find myself at home with this luscious eggplant staring at me. Now what? I could do Baba Ghanoush. I love Baba Ghanoush. But really can't I do something different? I could make the Lamb and Eggplant Potpie, which is an all time favorite, but I don't have any ground lamb and it's hot. So while picking up noodles for the swimming pool for "family vacation" at Walmart, inspiration struck. I was standing there in the checkout and noticed Grilling Summer 2008 from the lovely people of The Best of Fine Cooking. I actually picked it up to see if they had anything interesting to do with a 1 pound pork tenderloin. But there. On page 88 was the most delicious looking eggplant salad staring me in the face.
I am so proud I restrained myself from going and buying more eggplant.
I made the Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs today for dinner. It's every bit as good as the photo. Man do I love eggplant now. And I have to say I'm getting better at the grill too. The Brain is working late so he doesn't get any. He can have leftover bucatoni.
As an aside, I will no longer be posting, or sampling any recipes from Cook's Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen, or Cook's Country. For background, check here and here. My personal viewpoint is this:
Given a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted. And the method can only be copyrighted providing it uses wording that cannot be said another way, such as family anecdotes or such, not phrases like "bring to a boil." That when a person adapts a recipe, makes the recipe grow and evolve, they change the ingredients and therefore adapt the cooking instructions to those changed recipes, the recipe is therefore a different recipe. I'm not talking changing from a dash of salt to a pinch of salt. I'm talking significantly changing.
As a personal policy, I site the recipe source that I adapt so that you can know my inspiration. I think the people at Cook's Illustrated/ America's Test Kitchen/ Cook's Country acted outside of their copyright and merely resorted to bullying a food blogger because they can. Or they think they can. Shame on you Cook's Illustrated. Shame.
That being said, I copied this recipe almost verbatim. And you can see from my notes in the recipe how easy to adapt this recipe is if you don't have exactly the right ingredients. I strongly encourage you to find and buy this handy magazine. There are some amazing looking recipes in here. And I'm definitely not going to post them all! If all of Fine Cooking recipes are like this, then I may subscribe. And if they ask me to take down my post, I will because I didn't change it at all, but I will be disappointed.
Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs
from Fine Cooking
1 small clove garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I ran out of lemons, but jarred lemon juice worked just fine)
1 small shallot, very finely diced (I used a baby onion from the garden)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted and pounded in a mortar or ground in a spice grinder (I used 1/2 tsp ground cumin, call me lazy)
Pinch of cayenne, more to taste
1 large globe eggplant (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil; more as needed
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and a pinch of salt to a paste, or mince the garlic, sprinkle with salt, and mash into a paste with the side of a chef's knife.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste and 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes. Combine the shallot with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice and a pinch of salt in another small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk the olive oil, cumin, and cayenne into the garlic mixture. Season to taste with salt or cayenne if needed.
Prepare a medium-high charcoal or gas grill fire. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt. Grill (covered on a gas grill; uncovered on a charcoal grill) until golden-brown grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
Turn the eggplant and grill until tender and well marked on the second sides, another 3 to 4 minutes. The interior should be grayish and soft rather than white and hard.
Top the grilled eggplant slices with the shallots, feta, and herbs. Whisk the garlic-cumin vinaigrette and drizzle it on top. Serve immediately.