Full of noms

I made three dishes this weekend that I really liked. The best was a white-bean-eggplant soup. It looked TERRIBLE. I blended the soup, and the purple of the eggplant skin made the white beans … grey.

Sort of a dirty dishwater grey.


But! It tasted amazingly good!

So here’s how it went —

Four hours before you plan to cook, slice your eggplant. I make reasonably thick slices, about a half-inch. I salt a cutting board, generously. Then I put the eggplant slices on the salt, then pour a layer of salt on top of each slice. I leave that sit for about two hours.

Rinse the eggplant, and chop it into cubes. Put it in a bowl and let it sit while you do the next part.

Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large pot. Add one chopped onion. (Or some leeks. Or shallots. Whatever you have, chopped.) Turn the heat to low and let the onions get translucent, stirring occasionally.

Mince about eight cloves of garlic. Add them to the pot, stirring them in, along with some black pepper. Maybe a teaspoon? Maybe two, if you like things spicier? Add a splash of white wine. A tablespoon or two, tops. Keep that cooking over low heat.

Rinse the eggplant another time. When the onions are almost entirely translucent, add the eggplant. Turn the heat up to medium-low, and stir every so often to keep things from sticking to the bottom.

After about ten-to-fifteen minutes, add the beans. I had about two and a half cups of cooked great northern beans looking for a home, but a couple of cans of any old white bean will be fine. Drain them, first.

Add two cups of broth, stock, or water. Whatever you have.

Let that all cook together about ten or fifteen minutes, stirring it periodically. If you want it thinner, add more liquid. The eggplant should be reasonably cooked.

Turn off the heat. Let it cool. You can blend it with an immersion blender, or pour it in batches into an upright blender. It will turn the most unappetizing shade of grey, but do not be deterred!

Check the flavor. If it is bland, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. If it lacks kick, put in some more black pepper. If it’s too spicy or salty, add some cream or half-and-half or milk or soymilk or whatever dairy-esque thing you have. If it’s dull but more salt isn’t an option, add a splash more of white wine, or some lemon juice. If it lacks richness, melt a couple of pats of butter into it, or add shredded parmesan cheese.


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