Last Saturday’s Crazy Eggplant Day was a celebration of all things aubergine, with delicious eggplant demos from chefs Amie Edelstein and Sarah Broderick. Several lifelong eggplant-haters were even converted after trying the sampled dishes! See below for recipes for Roasted Eggplant, Feta & Walnut Salad, and Market Moussaka.
Roasted Eggplant, Feta and Walnut Salad
Chef Amie Edelstein
As summer ends and the cool fall days begin, I like to mix the lingering sweet produce with deeper, heavier flavors. This salad, meant to be eaten warm or at room temperature, combines sweet eggplant with smoky pimenton, earthy cumin, and toasty walnuts. The tangy feta and lemon juice round things out perfectly.
Serves 2-3 as a side
2 medium eggplants (the larger globe varieties work best), cut into ½” inch cubes (Sun Gold Farm)
1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Note: To paste the garlic, first finely chop it, then mash it against the cutting board with the side of your knife blade until you have a smooth paste.
Amie Edelstein moved to Portland 6 years ago and although she liked to cook before, she found herself inspired by the beauty and abundance of local produce and food. Her mission is to help people eat better by cooking and eating seasonally and locally. After honing her technique at the Chef Studio, she now teaches private and small group classes focused on fresh, seasonal cooking and loves helping people try new foods and improve their culinary skills.
Chef Sarah Broderick
This dish is a super delicious way to feature the wide variety of products available from local farms at the Hollywood Farmers Market. The ingredients are also widely available at your local grocery store. It’s a great dish to bring to a potluck or as the main course for a dinner party. Everything except the topping can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature, top with the sauce and bake.
Heat some olive oil (3 Tablespoons or so) in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the lamb, increase the heat to medium, and cook, breaking up the ground lamb into little bits. Cook lamb until it turns entirely brown and there is no more pink. Stir in cinnamon and allspice, add tomatoes, mint, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn!
Meanwhile, prepare your eggplant. There are two ways to do this. The easiest and healthiest way is to broil the eggplant. Oil a couple of baking sheets, arrange the eggplant slices into one layer on the sheets, then brush each slice with olive oil. Broil eggplant about 4 inches from the heat until they turn a golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Turn the eggplant slices, brush again with olive oil, and broil another 3-5 minutes until golden brown and tender. Remove from broiler, reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
The other way to prepare the eggplant is to fry the eggplants on each side in a non-stick pan. Arrange the eggplants on a cutting board (or other flat surface) one layer thick and brush with olive oil. Heat a pan to medium-high heat and add eggplant slices one layer thick in the pan with the olive oil brushed sides face down. As they cook, brush the other side of the eggplant slices in the pan. Flip after about 3-5 minutes. This process achieves the same results but is more time consuming because you have to do it in batches. It also may lead to using more oil if you aren’t careful. Only use this method if you don’t have baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Oil a 13×9 baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices one layer thick on the bottom of the pan, slightly overlapping. Spread lamb mixture over the eggplant and cover with the remaining eggplant slices, slightly overlapping each other.
For the Topping:
Melt butter in a small saucepan with a heavy bottom over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, creating a roux. Add the milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, still whisking, for 2-3 minutes. Add feta and cook over low heat, still whisking, until cheese is mostly melted. Do not let it boil after this point! Add ground nutmeg and season with salt & pepper. Let cool, covered, for 4-5 minutes. Add the beaten egg mixture to the sauce in a slow stream while whisking. Pour sauce evenly over eggplant and lamb and sprinkle with grated hard cheese.
Bake Market Moussaka for about 30-35 minutes until it is beautiful and bubbling. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.