I had the fortunate opportunity to stop at the Tomtem Farm stand at the market the other weekend where I picked up a new find, Kermit Eggplant. Not knowing a thing about it (and having never seen it before), I had a chat with the farmers and learned a thing or two in addition to a great way to prepare them. It goes to show that the farmer’s market provides the best venue to learn about locally grown produce straight from those who know best. SO…don’t be shy, ask questions!
The Kermit Eggplant is a hybrid version of the Thai eggplant and is a small, round vegetable with green, striped skin. The flesh is like that of the garden variety eggplant you are familiar with but I think a little less spongy in texture, but not in it’s ability to soak up any sauce you place it in or under.
Kermit Eggplant in Tamari Sauce (a version of the recipe dictated to me by Tomtem Farm, hopefully they’ll post their version also)
1 pint Kermit Eggplant (about 6-8 pieces), sliced into coins
1/2 pint fresh button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves black garlic*, chopped in large pieces
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp Tamari sauce
1 Tbsp agave nectar (you may want a little more or a little less depending on your tastes, honey would also be a great substitute)
pinch red pepper flakes
generous grind of black pepper
spoonful of toasted sesame seeds
Heat the peanut oil over medium heat in a sauté pan, and add chopped garlic cloves. Sauté for just a few minutes to flavor the oil and then remove garlic and discard. Add the eggplant, mushrooms and cracked pepper, sauté until browned on edges and then transfer to a plate for holding.
To the same pan, add tamari to deglaze using a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits left in the pan from the vegetables. Lower heat to simmer and stir in the agave nectar and red pepper flakes. Let the sauce reduce and thicken for about 5-10 minutes.
Add eggplant and mushrooms back in and turn to coat. Transfer to serving dish and top with toasted sesame seeds.
Makes for an excellent side dish or a great entree over steamed white rice.
P.S. They also had Padron peppers which I am obsessed with…just blister in a bit of hot oil and top with sea salt to serve warm. Careful! About 1 in every 4 has a serious kick!
*black garlic is a smoked garlic that can be purchased from a specialty food store or an importer of specialty foods if you are lucky enough to know someone in the biz
Saturday’s Basket is written by a Forest Hill resident and is a weekly review of South of the James Market purchases and the recipes she creates with her market finds. View these and more recipes at Pantry2Plate, a food blog with stories of cooking as best as she knows how.