Here in Trinidad the eggplant has way more names than I think any one vegetable should have. We call it eggplant, aubergine, melongene and baigan. My mother, being of Jamaican stock also calls it garden egg. Now why should this funny purple thing illicit so many references? I have no clue, but I do know that whatever name it goes by it is one of my favorite ingredients!
This vegetarian eggplant salad is a cinch to put together from beginning to end. I serve it with crackers or the cornmeal cakes shown below.
Moroccan Eggplant Salad
Recipe By: The Sephardic Table: The Vibrant Cooking of the Mediterranean Jews
Serving Size: 4
2 large eggplants, pricked with a fork
2 cloves, garlic mashed
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teapsoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and preheat the broiler with a rack about 5 inches from the heat.
2. Broil the eggplants until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the outer skin becomes charred.
3. Halve the eggplants and scoop out the pulp
4. Using a fork, mash the eggplant with the garlic and cilantro in a medium bowl.
This is Trinidad’s cilantro. We call it chadon beni (pron. SHAdow-BENee) or bhandhania. It is also known as culantro or Mexican cilantro as well as Long Coriander and Mexican Coriander. You can find it growing quite easily in the outdoors. There is a patch of it on my neighbor’s lawn that we harvest quite merrily when needed
Eryngium foetidum (also known as Bhandhanya, Chandon benit, Culantro, Fitweed, Long coriander, Mexican coriander, Wild coriander, Recao, Spiritweed, Ng?ɬ? gai, Sawtooth, and Saw-leaf herb), is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Mexico and South America, but is cultivated worldwide.
E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating in the Caribbean. It is also used extensively in Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia as a culinary herb. This variety of coriander dries well, retaining good color and flavor, making it valuable in the dried herb industry. It is sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro, but has a much stronger taste.
Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, combat colic, soothe stomach pains, eliminate gases and as an aphrodisiac.
5. Add the paprika and salt
6. Heat the oil in a large skillet
7. Add the eggplant mixture and saute over medium-high heat until the oil is absorbed
8. When the eggplant mixture has cool, transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with lemon juice.