While I was at the farmers market talking about Thai eggplant, about 75% of people were excited to hear about the green stripped alternative. However, the remaining 25% wanted to know what to do with the traditional eggplant they’d already purchased or grown. I started to think, “What did the oblong purple prince ever do to me? Why was I ditching it for its cute green cousin?” My guilt drove me to find a way to prepare it that I liked and that would take less time to draw out the customary bitterness, so I came up with this recipe and preparation method. You might call it the, “throw the kitchen sink at it” method. I combine the soaking, salting, and “frying” methods. I did want to use less oil, so the first two methods allowed me to use the stir fry technique which is much healthier. Be prepared to think ahead to use this recipe, but the soak time is unsupervised, so you can do those other important things you need to do. Isn’t that the name of the game?
The recipe keeps the shape of the diced eggplant, but it is tender and flavorful. I’ve used a Mexican flavor profile with the cumin, chili powder, and lime. This is the perfect recipe to buy ingredients from the farmers market right now as eggplant, apples, and cilantro are plentiful. Chunky and hearty, I hope this salsa becomes a favorite in your household.
Ingredients – Salsa:
- 1 med. Eggplant, washed, diced into ½ inch cubes (see instructions for preparing it before cooking*)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium apple, ½ inch dice
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 medium onion, large dice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste…see note!*)
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro (chop then measure)
- 1 lime, zest removed and juiced (about 2 Tbsp juice)
- ¼ c. olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, salted and made into paste
- 1 Tbsp agave syrup (a natural sweetener) or to taste
- Note: I like my dressing tarter, but if you like yours with more of a sweet flavor add more agave. You can find agave with the sweeteners in most grocery stores.
- Salt/pepper to taste
*Note—prepare eggplant ahead of time by soaking in cold water until covered and adding 1 Tbsp salt. Mix together and let stand for several hours to draw out bitterness. When ready to cook, drain and rinse in cold water. Taste regularly throughout cooking to get the salt levels right as the eggplant will absorb some salt during this soaking time.
- Heat olive oil (2 Tbsp) in large fry pan. Add eggplant, onion, and apple. Stir fry on high until veggie mixture is lightly brown. Approximately 5 mins., stirring only occasionally.
- Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon and stir to coat salsa. Add salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on med-low until soft, but still holding shape. Approximately 10 mins. – In the meantime, prepare dressing.
- Dressing: Mix together all ingredients and whisk until blended. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
- When salsa is done, transfer to bowl and allow it to cool a bit. Add dressing a quarter at a time, allowing the dressing to soak in.
- Stir in cilantro and allow salsa to cool to room temperature.
Serve with pita chips, on toasted French bread, or wrapped in a tortilla with lettuce for a hearty lunch.
I hope you enjoy the recipe. Let me know how it works for you.