Welcome back to our series Market Fresh, in which we take a look at one ingredient that's showing up in the city's Greenmarkets right now and tell you what to do with it. Last week, we looked at okra, and today we're cooking with eggplant.
Eggplant, a nightshade that's a cousin to tomatoes and potatoes, originally hails from India, though its common moniker "aubergine" comes from France. Eggplants come in a fantastic variety of shapes and colors, from the large, traditional purple-skinned Italians to squat green-and-white striped Thai ones. We spoke to Landmarc chef Marc Murphy to find out what he does with the meaty vegetable:
Murphy, inspired by his time on the Mediterranean as a child, likes to make a classic eggplant tartine. The tartine is perfect for summer picnics or lunch on the go—in it, eggplant is paired with sweet summer tomatoes that are roasted until caramelized, a savory tapenade of anchovies, calamata olives and capers, and creamy goat cheese, and it's all served over crusty country bread.
Landmarc's Mark Murphy's Eggplant Tartine
1 large Italian eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil
For the Tapenade:
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
3 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoon drained capers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
4 1/2-inch slices country bread
Preheat oven to 300º F. Toss tomato slices with one tablespoon olive oil, garlic, and thyme, and place on cookie sheet. Roast 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare tapenade. Place olives, anchovies and capers in food processor and puree until smooth.
Prepare grill for cooking or heat ridged grill pan over moderately high heat until hot. Brush eggplant with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until slightly charred and soft, about 3 minutes a side.
Assembly: Spread thin layer of goat cheese on each slice of bread. Top with eggplant, tapenade and roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino. Put under the broiler until cheese is melted.