Sep 12, 2013

Eggplant: Hate-Love Relationship {Eggplant and Lemon Risotto}

I could tell you that I'm on another ingredient kick.
But, really, it's just poor planning.

The risotto from last week was more about the tomatoes.  This time around, it's about the eggplant.

Purple.  Purple-black. Green.  White.  Striped.  Short and round.  Long and skinny.
As a child, it didn't matter which variety was on my plate.  I wouldn't touch any of them.

Eggplant.  Even the name is weird.  Ugly.  Unpolished.  

Instigator of rounds and rounds of dinner table fussing and whining and fit-pitching.  
The cause of bed without dessert.

Eggplant, I despised you.  Denier of ice cream and Oreos.
Thick skin impervious to my hatred, you appeared in the garden each summer.  
Worse, on the table.

Dark purple eggplant should have appealed to me.  As a little girl, purple was my favorite color--I once asked my dad to dye his beard purple.  But I knew once cooked, grey-green goop would sit on my plate.

Eggplant was truly one of the dark marks on my childhood dinners.
A few summers ago when The Boy spent a week with my parents, they fed him eggplant.  He ate it without tears and fighting...he loved it even.  He wanted me to cook it at home.  The next summer he wanted me to grow it in the garden.

The things we do to our parents.  And for our children.

Because of The Boy, eggplant and I are no longer on such unfriendly terms.  I now like it grilled, roasted, and fried.  And "burnt" like the method used in Yotam Ottolenghi's Eggplant and Lemon Risotto.

This is actually the first Ottolenghi recipe I tried, but I didn't realize it.  I found it on my friend Sue's blog a couple of years ago, so I just thought of it as hers.

The original recipe can be found HERE.
I took some shortcuts with it, like cooking both eggplant the same way instead of saving one for chunks of garnish.  But I think the original flavors still come through--smoky eggplant and sharp lemon.  Really good dish!

IHCC Ottolenghi Leek Badge resized

This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs Theme is "You Made Me Love (or at least like) You"
and is all about food you hated as a child, but like or love now.
How could I not pick eggplant?

Also linking with Chaya's My Meatless Mondays


  1. Your soooooooo funny Michelle :)
    I love this post
    But I also...........LOVE eggplant, almost in any shape or form

    Eggplant and Lemon Risotto sound very good to me :)

  2. In England they use the French word for it "aubergine" (oh-ber-zhjean) and you're right, it sounds so much nicer. ;) We love eggplant any way you cook it and it grows incredibly well here. I will have to go pick some this afternoon and give this a try!

  3. Oh ... I love eggplant, but can't have it often because of sensitivity to something that in it ... weird but true. I carefully pick a few times a year when I cook with it. What a great recipe to bookmark for one of 'those times' ...

  4. Hah! I am glad you worked trough all the trauma of dessert denial that eggplant brought you. At least I was never made to eat it growing up. ;-)
    I am drooling over this risotto--it looks so creamy and amazing. Glad we learned to enjoy it!

  5. I still have a hate-hate with eggplant, though some recipes make it more of a tolerate-hate.

  6. Great post, Michelle. For me it was always the dreaded carrot that caused me to miss out on many a childhood dessert, and the nightmare was that carrots made an appearance at our dinner table nearly every night!! I'm glad you've learned to enjoy eggplant though, and thanks for the mention :-)

  7. Having just tried burnt eggplant last week for the first time, I'm now going to have to revisit all of the recipes that call for it. This one looks and sounds delicious!

  8. I'm with you on the eggplant. I remember my mother making me sit at the table for hours until I finished the eggplant. Hated it.. Now I love it..

  9. I never had eggplant as a child. I can say it most certainly wouldn't have appealed to me at all! I love that eggplant has a running theme this week - too funny!

    I'm on the fence with eggplant, but if there was going to be a way to try it then this would be the way. I can inhale any kind of risotto.

    Don't sweat the email. I know what you mean about one thing after another and I completely get it!

  10. Anonymous9/18/2013

    LOL about the eggplant hatred. I feel that way about brussel sprouts. Always have!! I have to try this one love risotto and eggplant so together they should be great.


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