So, I didn’t join my neighborhood CSA this year. I didn’t love the quality last summer and wasn’t prepared to make that commitment again.
However, I’ve joined Basis: Good Food to You at the recommendation of a friend, and received my first shipment last Friday. Above, you’ll see too many eggplants for one household to consume in one week. However, my shipment came with a recipe card for “Eggplant Tartare.” Now, I’m not really sure why they called it a tartare–maybe because the finished product is soft and unctuous, earthy and creamy and with the addition of tomatoes and parsley also bright and herbaceous.
The recipe excited me because, while the shipment didn’t come with tomatoes, I’d just made an impulse purchase at Wednesday’s farmer’s market and wanted a fun way to showcase my ground husk tomatoes. Funnily enough, ground husk tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family–same as eggplants, tomatillos, etc. They’re little, not sticky when you peel back the paper and they pop in your mouth with a sweet grape tomato flavor, but as if infused with a tropical pineappley aroma.
To prepare: sear cubed eggplant, unsalted, in plenty of olive oil–don’t crowd the pan (work in batches, people). I used those two striated ones in the pic above. Once they were nicely browned, I salted them & thew them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes–until they were thoroughly soft. Then I tossed in the whole tomatoes–if you use cherries or grapes, you might want to halve them first–and plenty of black pepper. Since I used cast iron, the residual heat cooked the tomatoes just right, softening them, a few popped–I then stirred in a mess of parsley and plated, topped with a poached egg.
Toss back a bloody mary and butter a slice of toast (rustic fig and walnut bread if you’re lucky) and brunch is served.