La Marsa Market and Eggplant Parm. Sort of.

Well we have made it through a few weeks here in Tunisia.  No wait, I lied. We made it through 10 days in Tunisia before taking a holiday.

I should probably say that we didn't NEED to get out of Dodge. We had planned the holiday last year after we made the decision to move. Sort of a bribe for two teenage girls who weren't keen on moving.

We spent about 5 days in London, while Tunisia celebrated the end of Ramadan. London was wonderful, we fulfilled some shopping desires, saw the sights, and returned to North Africa ready to dive full on into the school year. I was most happy to see upon our return that the garbage strike had ended and the ever growing pile of refuse across the street from our house was cleared up. Mostly.

I have just one question for our dear striking garbage collectors and then I'll move on.  While on strike, did it cross your mind, that when you return to work you are going to have a heck of a lot more to do than if you had just kept up your job? Add that to the fact that had you kept at your job, you wouldn't have people yelling at you for not doing your job?

Moving on......

I have been having a terrible time getting into a routine, finding my way to shops, making coherent meals. I have been able to get a main dish down, or a side dish, rarely both in the same meal. I was starting to just give everyone an extra multi-vitamin as purchasing and preparing vegetables was just too much.  Why you ask?  Why couldn't you figure that out.  My only response is "Decision Fatigue"

Don't judge me.

So upon our return I asked a friend to take me to the markets that she frequents. Not only was it wonderful to spend a little time with her and her husband but I was able to actually get some great fruit and vegetables for a really good price.

Gorgeous Eh?!

Olives, preserved lemons, harissa paste

Oh yeah, they had a few more things than just fruit and veg. I was able to indulge in some pottery and baskets. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to handmade pottery and baskets. 
No Betty Ford does not have a treatment plan for this. 
Pretty sure my husband checked.

Here's a round up of my vegetable purchases.

For dinner I made a sauce of the peppers, onions, tomatoes and a few other things and topped some fried eggplant with the sauce and some cheese.  We called it Eggplant Parmesan. Sort of.

Eggplant Parmesan. Sort of.

1 medium size eggplant
All purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 poblano chile roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced (canned is fine)
1 yellow bell pepper diced
4 plum tomatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the eggplant:
Slice the eggplant thinly, salt both sides and place in a strainer for 30 minutes, up to one hour. (See cooks note). Rinse eggplant and place on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
Place 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour in a shallow bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Dredge the eggplant slices in the seasoned flour and cook in batches until each slice is golden brown on both sides. Remove eggplant to a baking dish, arrange the slices in a single layer.
For the sauce:
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Saute the onion until brown and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic, poblano, and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes covered. After 5 minutes, press on the tomatoes to release their juices and to break them down a bit. Add the wine and Worcestershire sauce and cook until reduce by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss together the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and set aside. Place a spoonful of the sauce over each slice of eggplant. Sprinkle the cheese over evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese melts and slightly browns.

Cooks Note: Sprinkling salt over eggplant slices before cooking them draws out the vegetable's moisture. It's a process known as "degorging".
Larger, older eggplants have brown seeds that contain a bitter liquid. Salting eggplants removes some of this liquid, which in turn makes it easier to cook them. 
Larger eggplants also tend to become soft and "melty" when cooked, so salting them before cooking leads to firmer, denser texture. 

1 comment:

  1. Your new pottery looks great on your table. The eggplant parm. looks good, too. It's not easy getting this new cooking groove going, but it will definitely come. Before you know it, you'll even have leftovers!