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Part the Third of Three Exhortations to Graceness Concerning the Edibility of the Aubergine

This eggplant preparation is similar to an Indian pickle, sweet and sour (and perhaps a bit oily), however it is seasoned along a Provencale theme, perhaps we might call it a tapenade without olives or brandy. This dish is suitable as an hors d'oeuvres or as the main course of a light luncheon, perhaps with a green salad. It makes fine picnic fare, as the centerpiece of a pastoral repast with a bottle of wine following a short hike. The eggplant portion of this recipe may also be served over pasta, in which case I’d recommend penne and a hard goat cheese grated over the top.

    Method
  1. With a sharp knife, slice the eggplant into thin rounds (if the eggplant is large, you may cut it in half first; this is one of the few kitchen tasks for which I use a serrated ginsu-style knife).
  2. Cut the onion in half, along any meridian, then in radial slices.
  3. Sliver the garlic cloves.
  4. Place the pinenuts in a dry cast iron skillet over a medium flame, shaking or stirring to allow them to roast evenly. Remove to cool
  5. Pour about 3 tablespoons olive oil into a large sauté pan. Sauté the onions and garlic.
  6. Once the garlic and onions become translucent, push them to the sides of the pan, and deal out several rounds of eggplant. Sauté the eggplant. When it becomes limp, stir the contents of the pan together and push it to the sides. Deal out more eggplant rounds. You may need to add a little more oil at this point.
  7. Once all the eggplant has been lightly sautéed, sprinkle in the herbes de Provence and over it all pour the balsamic vinegar. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. You also may want to open a window to disperse the smell of boiling vinegar.
  8. Stir every few minutes (so the vegetables don’t burn) until the most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  9. Place the completed eggplant in a serving dish, and sprinkle the toasted pignoli over. Serve with thickly cut slices of crusty bread, grilled or fresh, and a nice chèvre.

I recommend this recipe to the repertoire of any bachelor. Eggplant is one of those vegetables to which many of us, as children, expressed dislike. But cooking with eggplant, as a young man, is a display of having faced that hatred and consumed it. Further, goat cheese is a sophisticated pleasure rarely wasted upon the fairer sex (however, if you must avoid chevre, neufchatel or cream cheese may be substituted).

(At one point, this writeup was titled "Toast with pickled eggplant and goat cheese", but that didn't sound half as delicious.)

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