Sometimes you need to look outside the proverbial circle to source food and recipe inspiration, or maybe it just occurs naturally if you trust your instincts in certain situations. Usually I find green-grocery shopping nothing short of a rejuvenating sensory experience with display after display of fresh, multi-coloured fruit and vegetables beautifully presented like paint on an artist’s palette. They haven’t just been dumped randomly, serious thought has gone into these displays for maximum visual appeal which turns into enticement and ultimately (in my case) more purchases than needed at the time – like the four inviting artichokes I bought yesterday just because they looked so content nestling happily next to the eggplants, not because I was going to be using them in my recipe but solely for decorational purposes in my kitchen.
Right now it appears the planet is collectively obsessed with, either just starting, completely finished or half-way through that ubiquitary TV series Breaking Bad which has presented me with an inspiration for a dish. How is this be possible you ask? If you are familiar with this completely compelling piece of Television excellence you’d be familiar with the character Marie who, as the series goes on you eventually notice is constantly surrounded by the colour purple. Not only is she wearing purple (contrasted with yellow or other complimenting purple colour-matches) the kitchen is also full of purple appliances, the crockery, shopping bags, curtains, the bedroom theme, furniture and even a purple cork-screw makes an appearance. I also wonder if she she eats eggplant every night for dinner? It’s entirely possible she does.
The more I watch this series and am blasted with visions of purple the more thoughts I have about eggplant and other assorted purple coloured vegetables to the point of Marie Schrader’s obsessive behaviour. Red Onions (which are really purple and should be called purple onions), Raddichio, Beetroot, Purple Garlic, Purple Carrots, Purple Chillis and the King of them all, Eggplant. Traditionally serving sliced, drenched with olive oil, grilled and consumed just like that is sensational but there are other ways to incorporate eggplant in your cooking if you like to experiment. This recipe is based on an Iranian dish ‘Mirza Ghassemi’ plus a few additions and omissions. Baked with thyme the night before, then folded through scrambled eggs the following morning the sweet, smokey flavour intensifies over night. Baking has to be one of the easiest and tastiest ways to prepare eggplant. Chop the skin and flesh up, fold through the scrambled egg and serve on a bed of rocket topped with dollops of dill yoghurt. and a squeeze of lemon. For the Chilli freaks, throw some chopped fresh purple chillis over the final result.
Baked Eggplant Scramble
1 Large Eggplant; Cut in half lengthways criss-cross scored without piercing skin
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Few sprigs of fresh Thyme
* Sprinkle salt in the slits of the eggplant and set aside for 30 mins
* Squeeze all liquid from eggplant (like a sponge)
* Pre-heat oven to 200 C
* Brush flesh sides with Olive Oil
* Place flesh side down on top of Thyme sprigs in a roasting tin and bake for 1 hour or till skin starts crisping up.
Creamy Scrambled Eggs
4 – 6 Free Range Eggs
1/4 Cup of cream or Milk (or if dairy issues, just plain old water)
50 gms Butter
Salt and Pepper
Smokey Paprika for dusting
* Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork
* Add milk then use an electric beater to whip them up till well mixed, light and aerated
* Melt butter in pan till sizzling, pour in egg mixture and let settle for around a minute before moving it all with a spoon.
* Do not over stir, just gently fold cooked parts over each other till barely cooked; just slightly un-cooked as off the flame it is still setting. (Over-cooked scrambled eggs become watery rather than what you want light and fluffy)
* Chop the eggplant at this stage and gently mix through the scrambled eggs.
* Serve on a bed of Rocket drenched with lemon with the dill yoghurt sauce and a sprinkle of smokey paprika
Dill and Yoghurt Sauce
1/2 cup of Greek Yoghurt
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill
* Mix together till well combined
For the full ‘purple explosion’, grate some purple carrot over the rocket and add some caramelised red-onions before the eggs go on top, sprinkled with some edible purple flowers. (Sorry there is no picture, am only imagining this but am sure would look great)