Everybody might be talking about the Hearth chef-owner’s bone broth business, but Marco Canora has long been an advocate for healthy cooking. His new book, Good Food Day, serves as both a recipe guide and a treatise for following simple rules about healthy living. Rule #1: eggplant is everyone’s friend. Here’s tangible, delicious proof.
Eggplant’s spongelike tendency is its greatest asset and its most common road to ruin. A little too much oil and it turns into a soggy mush. By dry-roasting it, eggplant comes out soft, but still maintains its meaty texture. Peeling away alternating strips of skin helps to hold the tender eggplant slices together after they’re roasted and adds a flash of deep purple color to the salad, along with more fiber and antioxidants. Japanese eggplants are one of my favorite treasures at the summer greenmarket. Compared to globe and Italian varieties, Japanese eggplants have narrower, longer bodies with firm, sweet flesh and thinner skin. If you can’t get them, substitute Italian eggplants. Both varieties take well to an Asian dressing that has a delicious intensity of salty and tart flavors combined with mild heat from a serrano pepper and fresh, green brightness from loads of cilantro, basil and mint.
- extra virgin olive oil, for the baking sheet
- 1 1/2 pounds Japanese eggplant
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 bunch scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, finely grated
- 1/2 serrano chile, thinly sliced (leave it out or add more if you dig heat)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed and torn
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed and torn
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil leaves, loosely packed and torn
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat it with olive oil.
- Peel away alternating strips of skin lengthwise on each eggplant, leaving strips of unpeeled skin in between, so you get a racing stripe look.
- Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds (1-inch cubes, if you're using regular eggplant) and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Roast until the eggplant slices are tender all the way to the center, about 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk the water and coconut sugar together until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the lime juice, soy sauce and fish sauce and whisk to combine.
- While it's still warm, add the roasted eggplant to the bowl of dressing.
- Drop in the scallions, garlic, serrano chile, mint, cilantro and basil and toss to combine.
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