Monday, August 22, 2011

How to make any market veggie taste good: baby eggplant

This post is just a quick post, mostly for those who wander the farmers market, wanting to bring home something beautiful but wondering what in the world to do with those weird-looking greens or a new variety of squash.  I love wandering through the stalls, and always end up picking up something new to try at home.  Invariably, while I try to make new dishes, I always fall back on my trusted combination of ingredients to make any vegetable shine.  All you need is a little high quality olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. 
What you'll need:
Something new from the farmer's market! (I started with a half pound of baby eggplant)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1:
prep the veggie by cleaning, and then chopping into manageable pieces.
Heat olive oil in a pan, and when hot, add garlic.
Step 3:
As soon as the garlic begins to cook and fills your kitchen with wonderful smells (this will just take a few seconds) add the red pepper flakes, and saute for another few seconds.
Step 4:
Add your veggies!  Clearly every vegetable has a different cooking time, so you'll have to taste as you go along.  Eggplant, to me, should be soft but not totally collapsed.  Greens like spinach should be reduced but still have some girth (and should not be totally soggy).  Squash should be crisp-tender meaning soft but still with a little crunch.
When the veggies are almost done, squeeze the lemon over the pan.
Add salt and pepper and serve immediately.  To bring any dish to the next level, sprinkle fresh parmesan on top.  Enjoy!

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