Friday, August 16, 2013

Farmer's Market Fridays: Romanian Sweet and Sour Eggplant and Squash

Well, we've made it, friends. It's Friday. Friday. FRIDAY!

(Sorry. Had to.)

As of this morning I am on *semi* vacation for a few weeks (meaning I'll be writing, but no lab work or other analyses) and heading back to my hometown for a wedding, my brother's graduate school graduation, and some R&R with my folks.

I always overshop at the Farmer's Market, and had to restrain my self last Saturday. I made a giant batch of this Romanian-style sautéed veggie salad, and boy, was it good (though note to self-- eggplants can be deliciously hazardous to your health!)

The sauce leftover once I had consumed all the veggies single-handedly made for a seriously good salad dressing. I imagine that adding quinoa to this tart-sweet-acidic salad would make for a perfect complete meal. Hindsight is 20/20... I'll just have to make this one again.

In all seriousness, though, this salad will change the minds of anyone who says that they don't like eggplant. It is a bit more laborious than some other recipes, but it lasts very well in the fridge, makes a lot of food, and gets better with time. The garlic-based pesto mixture smells amazing, and will rock your world-- just don't eat it straight, unless you want to kill your tastebuds.

Make up a batch this weekend, and peg away at it through the week!

Romanian Sweet and Sour Eggplant and Squash

Adapted from Susan Feniger's Street Food

1 large eggplant
1 large yellow summer squash
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Canola oil
1 14 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Cut off and throw away both ends of the eggplant. Slice remaining eggplant into 1/4" thick slices, and lay on a paper towel. Repeat with squash. Sprinkle with salt, and allow to sit for 20 minutes to draw out the excess water. Pat the vegetable slices dry with a paper towel.

Place olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, paprika, and 1 tbsp salt into a food processor; pulse until mixture achieves a pesto-like appearance. Spread liberally over the vegetable slices.

Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan. Working in batches, place the veggies garlic-mixture-side-down into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, spreading mixture over the undressed side before flipping. Remove to a plate to cool and cook the next batch. Once slightly cooled, slice veggie rounds into strips; set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the tomatoes, vinegar, and brown sugar until bubbling. Add the veggie slices, and stew for 12-15 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off. Serve dish piping hot, or room temperature (I like it over greens for a hearty dinner salad!)

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