THROW LIKE A GIRL: And Now Back to Girl Food

This was a dude from a children's show FOR REAL

This was a dude from a children’s show FOR REAL

by Deborah

Sadly, the meat trilogy of the season (which can be summarized as a steak sandwich where the bread is two kinds of chicken) is over. But now that you have learned how to include cows and poultry in your weekly gatherings, you, trusted readers, may ask: where does that leave us? I would refocus my vast knowledge to offer suggestions about other wifely duties (get your mind out of the gutter) and spend a few columns helping women accessorize their homes’ man caves. This would be a way to help your men have a super-football experience. Unfortunately, all the ideas I had have already been done. That’s right, step aside Martha Stewart, because the internet has already figured out how to equip your man’s cave with tough guy candles, candle holders, and even crocheted slippers. So I guess I’ll stick with food.

One important aspect of football food is that it should generally be finger food. But why not bring some fanciness and class to your finger food? If you’ve learned anything from me yet, it’s where to look for class: Melted Brain. Oh wait, no, that’s wrong (though delightful!). Correct answer: Epicurious. And so I turn to it for one of my favorite dishes:

Marinated Eggplant with Mint

While the way to a man’s heart may be the stomach, that tradition of indulgence stands alongside another long tradition of post ball-and-chain women fighting (and nagging!) to convince their committed to eat more healthy fare. In that spirit, this is a way to try to get your dude to like eggplant. In one corner, we’ve got eggplant. Poor, poor eggplant is much maligned, hated by social media, and the butt of food humor. In the other corner is mint, who has captured our hearts – from the innocence of girlhood to the delights of summer to the classiest way to fall down drunk.

Who will win? Can eggplant ruin this dish, or will the tastiness of mint carry the day? Or, will the dark horse of goat cheese actually steal the show? There’s only one way to find out: jump into the kitchen and quickly whip this up over a period of nine to twenty five hours.

As always, I’ll give you a few pointers in case you are wondering when to follow directions and when to change it up.

  • Step  1: Cutting eggplant is pretty straightforward. Only once have I gotten 10 stitches in my thumb trying to deal with eggplant (hint: you probably substitute a sharp knife for a skewer). Once that’s been done, yes, you do want to let the salt help the eggplant drain. Because, if you look further down the recipe, you’ll be frying the eggplant and when you have too much water, the oil splatters more that you’d like. Or at least more than I’d like.
  • Step 2: Make the marinade by mixing all the ingredients together. This is important, so your food can have flavor. Why is this step two though? It’s breaking up the eggplant instructions flow, making the recipe read less well. But really, it gives you something to distract you while the eggplant is just draining.
  • Step 3: You know how to pan fry things? Then do it. Very easy. Your slices should be thin enough that this timing will be pretty obvious. About a minute, but however long you need to make it cooked through. In this step you will learn that eggplant can absorb an almost infinite amount of oil, so have lots and lots on hand.
  • Step 4: As noted in an earlier Throw Like a Girl, the best way to actually marinate this is by just throwing everything in a plastic bag. Every once and a while over the next 8 to 24 hours, just turn the bag over, toss it around, or otherwise caress it to spread the liquid around.
  • Steps 5-7: Why have you been forgotten??????????????????? Epicurious: this recipe is not done yet!

Step 5: Epicurious might not care about you, but I have not forgotten. Buy a fresh baguette, ciabotta, or another of your favorite hearty breads. Cut it into slices that are manageable for fingers but big enough to put things on top.

Step 6: Pick your favorite goat cheese. Even though Humboldt Fog is the best (or 3rd best?), the ash might be a bit strong for this recipe. A mild goat cheese to counterbalance the topping flavors will be delightful. If you want to apply lessons from home economics, Trader Joe’s has good deals on goat cheese. Anyway, this step has a couple parts. A) Let the goat cheese sit out for a bit so it is soft and spreadable. B) Spread it on the bread you have just sliced.

Step 7: Remember you marinated that lightly fried, thinly sliced eggplant? It’s time to bring that out now. Gently and beautifully lay those eggplant strips out on the goat-cheesed bread. Voila. You’re done.

In case you haven’t figured it out, the beauty of this dish is that mint doesn’t actually need to beat eggplant. Because eggplant is already awesome! So is mint (see above)! And so is goat cheese! So there’s no way this dish can go wrong.

Football + Eggplant = yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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