Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fried Eggplant with "Pepian" Sauce and Peccorino

Let's just say, this was a week for paying attention to mental health. With classes starting this week, I had enough on my proverbial plate to keep me in perpetual motion. But a major, emotional drama on Sunday really pushed me to my limit -- and I found myself eating on the run or eating in that furtive way we do when feelings take over.
I was reminded of much I really need to just settle down into this new kitchen and do some cooking. At least when I'm in it, I need to feel that it's mine.
Last night, one of my housemates made a delicious, spicy eggplant-tomato dish with coconut milk -- sort of like a Thai-inspired Bhangan ka Bhurta. Amazing. She served this with sauteed greens and a quinoa and almond pilaf. It was so good, and it motivated me to start thinking about cooking some more.
Today was another busy day (and I didn't even go to work), but I made some time to get over to the community garden. I picked several Isis Candy Tomatoes, some cayenne peppers, some sweet green peppers, a tiny onion, some herbs and a cute, glossy eggplant. We also have green bell peppers in our house garden, AND we have some from the CSA, so I decided to use them up a bit in a very modified version of a pepian sauce.
Pepian, from what I can gather, is a mole made from pepitas or pumpkin seeds. It often features tomatilloes and green peppers. It's delicious over chicken -- see here.
I didn't have any tomatilloes, so I just made it without them. I also didn't have any cilantro for that distinctive Latin flavor, so I used parsely and basil instead. I figured I could make the dish more Mediterranean than Latin -- it worked well. I just kind of whipped this together for a pretty fast and easy meal.

Fried Eggplant with "Pepian" Sauce and Peccorino

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray or oil a baking pan. Cut up some green peppers (any kind) into large pieces, quarter an onion, peel a couple cloves of garlic. Add some cayenne or jalapeno peppers, if you like. Toss the vegetables in the oil to coat. Bake until well-roasted.

So, I don't want to have to tell you how to fry eggplant . . . you know how, right? A little egg wash, a dredge through some flour and into some hot oil for a few minutes each side. Drain on paper towels. Done.

When the roasting vegetables are done, puree them with a generous handful of pepitas, parsely and basil. Add a little oil if you need to loosen the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

Usually, you pour the pepian into a pan with the chicken and stew it a bit. I just poured the sauce over the fried eggplant slices and topped it off with some shaved parmesan.

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