Braised Eggplant with Soy, Garlic, and Ginger

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What do you do with eggplant? With farmer’s markets at their peak you will see piles of eggplants alongside the other vegetable bounty. But do you pass on the eggplant because, other than eggplant parm, you don’t know what to do with it?

Well here is an answer. Braise it in a simple Asian sauce. This is a super easy, one-pan dish. which I got from Cook’s Illustrated. I made it the other day and it reminded me of something I would gladly pay for at a restaurant. Served with some fresh white rice it was a very satisfying dish.

So…don’t shy away from the eggplant this week and give this a try.


Braised Eggplant with Soy, Garlic, and Ginger

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • ¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 4 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili paste

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 2 (8- to 10-ounce) slim Japanese or Italian eggplants

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 scallions, sliced thin on bias

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Whisk water, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, chili paste, and cornstarch in medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Trim ½ inch from top and bottom of 1 eggplant. Halve eggplant crosswise. Cut each half lengthwise into 2 pieces. Cut each piece into ¾-inch-thick wedges. Repeat with remaining eggplant.

2. Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Spread eggplant evenly in skillet (pieces will not form single layer). Pour rice wine mixture over eggplant. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to maintain gentle boil. Cover and cook until eggplant is soft and has decreased in volume enough to form single layer on bottom of skillet, about 15 minutes, gently shaking skillet to settle eggplant halfway through cooking (some pieces will remain opaque).

3. Uncover and continue to cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until liquid is thickened and reduced to just a few tablespoons, 12 to 14 minutes longer. Transfer to platter, drizzle with sesame oil, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.


HOW TO CUT AN EGGPLANT

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recipesMichael Liss