Market to Table: Orange Eggplants?

Categories: Food

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No, those aren't clementines, persimmons, or miniature pumpkins. At the Lucero stand at the farmers market the other week, I saw these new-to-me orange "Turkish" eggplants and had to try them. When I cut them open I was surprised to see some of the flesh was translucent, like citrus fruit (click for a larger image).

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I made them into a caponata-inspired ragout with onion, garlic, and ripe jalape├▒os sauteed in olive oil deglazed with red wine and a little leftover barbecue sauce from T-Rex.

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To fill out the menu, I made a soup of Fatted Calf Toulouse sausage and ripe red bell peppers sauteed in olive oil (the sausage was leaner than I expected), chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), chicken broth, and barley. The canned chickpeas tasted stale compared with the bright, fresh flavors of the ingredients from the farmers market, so thinking of the Portugese dish of pork and clams I added a can of chopped anchovies with their olive oil.

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I was afraid that the soup would be too much but my dining companion asked me for the recipe. The leftover eggplant should make a great frittata.

--Robert Lauriston

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