Monday, August 04, 2014

Eggplant Artichoke Appetizer Thingy

For those readers who don't yet know, Mr Minx and I produced a cookbook this year. Baltimore Chef's Table includes recipes from 58 Baltimore-area restaurants. The recipes run the gamut from the expected Maryland crab soup and crab cakes to Thai and Persian food. The Orchard Market & Cafe, in Towson, was kind enough to provide two recipes for the book, one of which involves eggplant and artichokes in a honey mustard sauce. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical, so when we did a book signing at the restaurant, I ordered the dish. was pretty good. And definitely simple enough to assemble at home.

The recipe in the book makes a 9" x 13" pan full. A bit much for two people, I cut it way back. I also simplified the preparation of the eggplant, and added a bunch more dill because I really wanted to taste it. The book recipe calls for Bulgarian feta, but as we had no plans to go to Wegmans anytime soon, I just used regular supermarket feta. The Bulgarian would have definitely been better, but I can't complain too much about my substitution--we ate it all up.

Eggplant Artichoke Appetizer (adapted from Baltimore Chef's Table)

1 large or two medium eggplants
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons honey dijon mustard (I used Jack Daniels brand)
2 tablespoons minced dill
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
4 scallions, chopped
1 can artichokes, drained
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
5-6 pitted olives, sliced
Pita bread for serving

Rinse and halve eggplants from stem to stern. Place cut-side-down on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a piece of waxed paper. Microwave for 10-12 minutes, until deflated and tender. Set aside to cool for a few minutes before scraping eggplant meat onto a cutting board. Chop into fairly small pieces and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season to taste with the kosher salt.

Combine the sour cream, mustard, dill, and molasses in a small bowl. Season with salt, if desired.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the eggplant in the bottom of a 9" round or square baking pan. Top with the scallions. Arrange the artichokes over the scallions and top with most of the feta cheese. Pour the mustard sauce over all. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is browned.

Top the dish with remaining feta crumbles and the olives. Eat with pita bread.

Serves 2-6, depending on whether using it as an entree or appetizer.

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