Aubergine or eggplant?

19 October 2010 § 4 Comments

The Walnut Street NJ Transit parking lot in Montclair is transformed into a vibrant market place.  The drop in temperature meant it was quieter than the busy summer months, The Ladies™ were a tad disappointed to see the Animal Rescue People were not there with their cats and dogs for adoption (not consumption, now that would add a new meaning to live produce!) Their disappointment was soon overcome with their treat of a honey stick from the Tassot Apiaries stand. At 25 cents a piece, it was money well spent, buying me all of seven minutes of quiet browsing time.

Most of the vendors were out in full force, all the regulars were there – Tree-licious Orchards had a huge variety of apples – Mollie’s Delicious, Jona Gold, Fuji, Mutsu, Empire to name a few. Vacchiano Farms had an impressive display of fresh produce. John’s Organics had a huge choice of greens. We bought some fresh mozzarella, to enjoy with the last of my home-grown tomatoes and basil, as well a chicken to roast on Sunday.

Hunger started to set in with The Ladies™, so we grabbed a few things for lunch – some Polish kielbasy sausage from Stefan and Sons, fresh bread from the Montclair Bread Company, followed with some fresh figs.

I also bought some beautiful, shiny eggplants. The very talented British chef and writer, Nigel Slater – and I bet you thought I was going to say Jamie Oliver – thinks they are the sexiest of all vegetables (although as members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes and potatoes they are botanically fruit.)  I don’t really have a point of view on the sexiness of vegetables, although that said, I do think aubergine sounds much sexier than eggplant. I can understand why Europeans thought they were inedible until the 15th century, before that they were prized as ornaments.

Here’s the roasted aubergine dip I made…or I should say roasted eggplant dip, from Nigel Slater’s Tender Vol 1 – A Cook and his Vegetable Patch.


1 large or 2 smaller eggplants

3 garlic cloves

5 tablespoons olive oil

Cumin seeds – toast in a pan

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

A handful of mint

Roast the eggplant and garlic cloves (whole unpeeled) in the oven at 400°F for about 45 mins. One of my garlic cloves exploded – this has NEVER happened before – so use the blade of a cook’s knife to squash slightly to avoid explosions.

When cool enough to handle, half the eggplant and scrape out the middle. This picture of the roasted eggplant should have a health warning, it is pretty offensive:

Mash eggplant with the roasted garlic with a fork or in a food processor. I used a hand processor as I did not want it too runny. Then add olive oil gradually, lemon juice, cumin, mint and season. Enjoy with crackers or fresh bread. Not sure if The Ladies™ will like this, but I’m looking forward to it tonight with a glass of wine.



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