A very Happy and Healthy New Year to you all! I have had too much party food and now I am gone on to my old habits. I went back to my cookbook, “The Dance of Spices,” and leafed through the Vegetable Kingdom.
I savor the lightness of seared veggies so much that this style is an integral part of my everyday cooking. Sautéed vegetables blend well as an accompaniment with a variety of foods. They are at their best when served immediately. In addition to serving as a side dish, you can add the leftovers to cooked tortellini or spaghetti for a light meal, turn plain rice into a pilaf or cook in light cream to make a quick curry. This dish also makes a great topping on open vegetarian sandwiches.
- 1 medium (½ pound) regular oval or 3 Japanese eggplant
- 3 medium (½ pound total) zucchini
- 4 teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup mild sesame, peanut or olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Slice the eggplant and zucchini into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Toss the veggies so that each slice is coated with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick 12-inch frying pan or large skillet over moderate heat rotating the pan so that the oil coats the bottom and the sides. Add as many eggplant and zucchini slices that will fit in a single layer in the pan. Cook until the bottoms are lightly golden in places, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a platter and set aside. Repeat with the remaining oil, eggplant and zucchini in 2 or 3 more batches.
Return the cooked eggplant-zucchini slices to the pan. Sprinkle in the turmeric, cayenne, sugar, sesame and lime juice and toss very gently. Transfer to a heated serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and serve.