Tame the purple monster: Your best eggplant dishes

Stews, spreads and souffles all make the vegetable meltingly delicious. Plus next week's challenge: Ice cream


Salon Staff
July 7, 2010 5:01AM (UTC)

Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.

This week, we asked for your best eggplant dishes.

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THIS WEEK'S WINNER:

Eggplant sautéed in olive oil and baked with tomatoes (Imam Bayildi) by Heliana Sand: The name of this dish translates as "The priest (imam) fainted," though it's unclear whether he did so because of the quantity of olive oil involved or how good it tastes. Either way, Heliana tells us a lovely story of learning it while a guest in a Romanian home, and a luscious recipe. (Incidentally, friend of the Salon Kitchen Challenge Fusun Atalay recently shared her elegant version of the dish, in which the tomatoes are stuffed inside the eggplants.)

THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY WINNERS:

In the Home Field Advantage category:

Turkish musakka by Fusun Atalay: Often, Fusun regales us with wonderful dishes from her native land of Turkey, so this week, when many others seem to be taking her cultural lead, it's only fitting that she leads us off with a hearty, meaty eggplant stew.

In the Spreadable category:

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Grilled eggplant spread with fresh herbs by Cathy Elton: For a lighter, fresher alternative for the classic baba ghanoush, one that keeps the smoky, silky eggplant but without the weight of nutty tahini paste, Cathy offers this olive oil- and yogurt-infused spread, especially lovely on garlic toasts. (Incidentally, if you'd prefer guidelines for the richer original, Gavinesq offered a wonderful post on that, too.)

In the Casserole category:

Southern eggplant soufflé and Turkish eggplant cream by Lucy Mercer: Judging from many of the entries this week, it seems like the Mediterranean countries have all the fun with eggplant, but leave it to Lucy Mercer to represent the South and its love of turning any and all vegetables into rich creamy goodness. But, not to miss the Club Med boat, she also clocks in with some extra credit: a smooth, mild, cheese-enriched eggplant purée to anchor powerful dishes like braised beef.

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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:

There's a lot to be said for ice cream on its own -- especially since the flavor possibilities are nearly limitless -- but sometimes, more is more.

How do you like to fancy up ice cream? Do you boil up your own hot fudge? Cook some fruit? Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches, or maybe you really go for the gusto and flame up a Baked Alaska?

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This week, help us throw the party of the summer with your best ice cream enhancements.

Be sure to tag your posts: SKC ice cream (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)

Scoring and winning

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Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and extra points for making up your own ice cream flavors.


Salon Staff

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