We braved the storm with dark Mexican beer and fish tacos. We never lost power and the bathtub upstairs full of cold water remained untouched, the water completely still. Last night the house felt impermeable. My dad did too. He sure surprised us on the roof.
The tree in front of our house – the tree that I once scrubbed with water and soap when I thought the bark needed a good washing – has all of its limbs. Leaves blow and the sun briefly came out at noon. The house is a brick on a hill. I’m thankful.
Needless to say, I’ve been cooking a lot. I stocked up on food from the farmer’s market and Trader Joe’s on Saturday. So far I’ve made a tomato sauce from big juicy Jersey tomatoes, a red lentil soup with coconut milk, a classic tomato-basil soup and fish tacos. I also tried to watch two movies during all the simmering and shaking. Despite Inland Empire’s ridiculously sexy intro, the movie put me to bed. Lynch, forgive me. I experience very long phases of falling asleep during movies. I hope it lifts soon. I even missed some of GhostBusters last night. Shameful.
There were still eggplants at the farmer’s market as late as last week. I often run into my high school AP English teacher and friend, Victoria, there. We like to talk about dogs and food. For years I’ve only cooked eggplant in the tradition of my aunt’s parmigiana. Victoria piqued my interest by talking about her go-to Sicilian style eggplant dish. I couldn’t help asking her to elaborate with a recipe.
Her baked eggplant includes fresh breadcrumbs tossed with parsley, anchovies, lemon zest, garlic and capers. The smell is divine. I wouldn’t be surprised if eggplants are still available at the farmer’s market this weekend.
Definitely make it while you can still get your hands on those beautiful, purple nightshades.
Baked Sicilian Eggplant
- Two 1-pound long, slender eggplants, sliced lengthwise 3/4 inch thick
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 4 cups crustless country bread in 1-inch pieces (4 ounces)
- 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup)
- 4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 2 pounds)
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
2. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and let stand until beads of water appear on the surface, about 20 minutes. Pat the eggplant slices dry with a damp towel and transfer them to a lightly oiled, large rimmed baking sheet. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and tender.
3.Using a spatula, loosen the eggplant slices from the sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°
4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the bread with the anchovies, parsley, capers, garlic, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil and process until coarse crumbs form.
5. Sprinkle the feta on the eggplant and top with the sliced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the crumbs over the tomatoes and bake in the upper third of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until browned and crisp on top. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.
Brooklyn, what are you eating?