This past Saturday I returned to the Headhouse Farmer’s Market after a long break. I was pleasantly shocked to see how much the selection has grown since early May. The first table featured a rainbow of wonderful heirloom tomatoes of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. I grabbed two of these awesome eggplants, below. As well as some colorful chard and rough kale before they go out of season.

Heirloom Eggplant

Heirloom Eggplant

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

So after purchasing this bounty of fresh vegetables, I had to develop some kind of plan to cook them. I was planning on doing plain old eggplant burgers but decided against it because these are special eggplants. I referenced Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything, and found myself overwhelmed by the options. I finally settled on Sauteed Eggplant with Basil, because I had alot of fresh basil on hand.

Satueed Eggplant With Basil

1 1/2 to 2 lbs eggplant, preferably small
salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup basil leaves chopped or torn

Peel the eggplant if the skin is thick or the eggplant is less than perfectly firm; cut it into 1/2 inch cubes and salt them if the eggplant are large and time allows.

Put the olive oil and all but 1 teaspoon of the garlic in a large, deep skillet, preferably nonstick or cast iron, over medium heat. Two minutes later, add the eggplant. Stir and toss almost constantly until the eggplant begins to release some of the oil it has absorbed, after 5 or 10 minutes.

Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very tender, about 30 minutes (this can vary greatly). About 5 minutes before it is done, add the remaining garlic.

Sprinkle with pepper and additional salt if necessary. Stir in the basil and serve.

Eggplant with Basil Leaves

Eggplant with Basil Leaves

This was a really fun and easy process. The sauteeing only took about 15-20 minutes. The meal was really good, but it did need a bit more flavor so I stirred in some goat cheese, because I am a firm believer that goat cheese makes everything better. Hence the “almost” vegan part of my meal. But still really healthy!

I also made a side dish of White Bean and Mint Salad from Real Simple Magazine, to balance out the flavor of the eggplant and for a little protein with my meal.

White Bean and Mint Salad

1 15 oz. can of canellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.

White Bean and Mint Salad

White Bean and Mint Salad

Both were really great and very filling. I had some leftovers so I took the bean salad to work the next day with my leftover apple beet salad. I am a huge fan of dinners that can be carried over to lunch!

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