eggplant fries + herb mayo

It feels like yesterday it was April and I was wearing a leather jacket and battling random chilly days. Then I blinked and it’s August and I’m battling unwieldy summer hair. Beach hair, right? Wrong. Not when you’re on the humid isle of Manhattan and the only water in site is the Hudson River. So goes the struggle…

A lot has changed in the past few months, hence the whirlwind summer. Rewind to December 31: my friend Sarah and I were wearing glittery “2016” hats and drinking champagne in her apartment when she pressed a $2 bill into my hand. “This is going to be your best year,” she promised, then instructed me to safeguard the bill for good fortune. And I think she’s kind of a sorceress because in many ways this has been my best year…

Among other good things that have entered my life, I started working as Content Manager (food writer + editor) at the Institute of Culinary Education. I have 1.5 months under my belt, but I still can’t believe it sometimes (wait, I’m getting paid to write about food and chefs everyday?). But so far, it seems that I’m definitely awake and not in some alternate dream state. Having both loved and loathed my job, I believe more than ever the idea behind that recent NY Times article: there is an incalculable value in finding a job that you love. And one of the most important dimensions of job satisfaction–believing in your employer’s mission. If you’ve followed along on my journeys at all, you know that cooking and inspiring people to get into the kitchen and pursue their passion is my JAM. So, needless to say, this gig is a good fit for me.

One of the perks of the job, aside from a general sense of existential wellbeing etc. etc., is the on-site hydroponic farm, farm.one, where these startup horticulture geeks (they will hate me for writing that but I mean it in a cool way) grow herbs and veggies using LED lights. The roots are submerged in water so you don’t even have to wash the things before you use them—no dirt! It’s pretty neat to walk by every day. Yup—neat.

Being eggplant season and all, the farmers agreed to harvest a few of their lovely Grettle eggplants for me. Slender and delicate-skinned as they are, I knew I couldn’t cook them as I had originally envisioned—over an open flame until the outsides gets all blistery and the insides all smokey. Save that for the big, thick-skinned eggplants. These boys are sensitive. Instead, I decided to leave the skin on, slice them into thin wedges, season this ish out of them, then roast them into tasty eggplant fries.

I served them with dippy, fried eggs ’cause that’s how I roll, some homemade garlicky herb mayo (recipe here—the herbs are pretty much interchangeable) and sesame-seed loaded teriyaki, which was sent to me as part of a box of treats from Degustabox, a monthly delivery service of international food items.

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teryaki

Hope you’re taking the time to stop and savor these last few weeks of summer. Qué aproveche!

Ingredients:
(serves 2)

  • three small eggplants
  • 2 1/2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove tops from eggplants, then cut in half (width-wise). One piece at a time, cut in half lengthwise, then into eighths, then again until you have skinny strips—keep in mind that the eggplant will shrink slightly when roasted. Place cut eggplant in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Pour half of the olive onto the eggplant; toss, then pour more until eggplant is coated with olive oil but not saturated. Add spices and toss again.
  • Spread eggplant on a baking sheet. Roast in oven, shaking the baking sheet halfway through, for 20 minutes or until eggplant is golden brown and some pieces are crispy.
  • Optional: serve with a fried egg and herby mayo or aioli.

Thanks to Degustabox for sending a delish selection of treats!

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