• Special Edition of Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

    I have to apologize that in my recent post on eggplant I failed to mention the new variety, Fairy Tale, that we are receiving this week (some were also able to try it last week). So here is a short write-up on the variety, as well as an easy recipe to try.

    Fairy Tale Eggplant

    I don’t know who named these little gems, but fairy tale eggplants are truly adorable. This week I tried them for the first time and couldn’t believe how creamy and sweet they were. I did a little investigation and found out that these pretty purple beauties are generally less seedy and bitter than other varieties of eggplant. The skin tends to be very tender and the flesh cooks up sweet and creamy. Smaller eggplants (about 2”) appear to be the favorite, but they are still great anywhere from 1-4 inches in length.

    I cut them up and roasted them with my fennel and cherry tomatoes (see recipe below) but apparently these little divas are great grilled whole. I will have to try that next time I’m lucky enough to have them in my share.

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    Roasted Fairy Tale Eggplant, Fennel, and Cherry Tomatoes         Serves 4

    INGREDIENTS:

    – 1 quart fairy tale eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
    – 2 small fennel bulbs, core removed and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
    – 1 small onion, cut into 1/2″ pieces
    – 3 tablespoons avocado oil or high heat oil of choice
    – 4 tablespoons water
    – 1/2 quart cherry tomatoes
    – 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    – 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, minced

    METHOD:

    1. Preheat oven to 450℉

    Coat two baking sheets with some of the avocado oil. Place the eggplant, onions, and fennel on one sheet and drizzle with half the remaining oil and all of the water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil. Place in oven and bake undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and remove foil. Turn vegetables with a spatula and return to oven.

    2. Place whole cherry tomatoes on the second sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven once you add eggplant mixture in for the second time. Cook both for 10-15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices. Keep your eye on the eggplant mixture and remove it earlier if it starts to burn.

    3. Sprinkle eggplant mixture with lemon juice and mix in well. Mix in cherry tomato mixture and fennel fronds. Season with any additional salt and pepper as needed.

    Serve as a side dish or over pasta, rice, or another grain.

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