I can’t take full credit for this recipe, as it was from a Sunday night when I was feeling uninspired in the kitchen. I grabbed a book off the shelf, looked up eggplant and found a recipe which I could basically do, subbing in what I had, but keeping to the original premise. The book was Arabesque by Claudia Roden (& if you have the book, it’s on page 157). Claudia Roden calls for walnuts and parsley, but I had pecans and oregano, so made do with that. She also calls for a lot more garlic than I went for! In the end I could see how extra would have been fine, but I very much liked the balance of just the four cloves anyway. Being that nuts are quite dense, I paired this dish with a large romaine lettuce that I’d sliced into thin ribbons. The meaty eggplant slices pair really well with the oregano and I think it makes the eggplants more inline with the season up here in the north. If it were summer, I’d be highly tempted to try this method using mint, almonds and lemon. But that’s for another time!
Before I get to the recipe, I’d also like to recommend a post that Megan, the Detoxinista, wrote this past week about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I’d not heard of it before, but am interested in reading more about it thanks to Megan! You can check it out here. As Megan writes, it’s “ a diet thought to heal the intestine through avoiding certain types of starches and sugars, while still embracing others.”
Eggplant with Garlicky Pecans & Oregano inspired by a Claudia Roden recipe
Serves 2, as a main course
2 globe eggplants (the usual variety found in grocery stores)
3T melted butter or olive oil + 1T butter (keep separate)
2T of lime juice (or a wine vinegar – red wine vinegar would work out well here too)
Large pinch of sea salt (such as the Maldon brand)
4 cloves of garlic
6T pecans (or other nut you have to hand)
A couple of stems fresh oregano, leaves removed, stalks discarded (or whatever fresh herb you have to hand)
1 large romaine lettuce, cut crossways into ribbons about 0.5cm wide
Preheat the oven to 475F. Oil a baking sheet with some of the melted butter. Don’t use it all, you’ll need more to brush the eggplant slices with.
Slice the eggplants lengthways about 0.5cm thick (roughly quarter of an inch). Place the slices on the baking sheet, then brush the tops of the slices with the rest of the butter. Bake for 15 minutes, turn, bake for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Melt the last 1T of butter in a small pan, and gently cook the garlic in it taking care to not burn it. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or so, and will start to smell divine. Coarsely chop the pecans, put the oregano leaves on the pile of nuts, then the buttery garlic, and then chop all together, until a coarse sort of pesto forms.
When the eggplants are done, drizzle with the lime juice and sprinkle with some of the sea salt.
Put the romaine on the plate, then lay the eggplant slices out in one layer and top each slice with some of the pesto.