Saturday, March 3, 2012


This  one of my favorite recipes for a spin on the "boring" mashed potatoes.  I've done the wasabi root (no pun intended), so here's another method to make the old-fashioned, classic potato root (again, no pun intended) into a more flavorful side dish.  Typically, most side dishes are ignored and they are treated like the girl (or guy) at the dance that never gets asked to dance. Not this side dish.  I really like the Mediterranean flair, different from the Asian wasabi version mentioned above.  This recipe was adapted from the Union Square Cookbook.
  It goes really well with roasted chicken or any full bodied fish.

4 Japanese eggplants (about 2#), peeled
4 oz. olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
1 tablespoon tahini*
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 cups mashed potatoes (recipe follows)**

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the eggplants in half, then slice each lengthwise into quarters.  Slice across the quarters at 1/2-inch intervals.  Put the cut eggplant on a lightly oiled roasting pan.  Drizzle evenly with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cover eggplant with foil and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, until eggplant is tender.  When done, let eggplant cool down and puree in a food processor until smooth.

In a medium pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the sesame oil.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add eggplant puree, tahini, and soy sauce.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the warm mashed potatoes and heat through.

*TAHINI is a white sesame paste found in most specialty grocery stores or Middle Eastern shops.  If tahini is not available, make your own using one part of toasted sesame seeds with one part water.  Grind into a paste.   

2# of Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into equal parts
dash of kosher salt
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Place potatoes in a 2 quart saucepan and cover with cold water.  Add the salt.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until potatoes are completely tender, about 30 minutes.  When potatoes are tender, drain them.  Then, put potatoes into a food mill, or a potato ricer, or just use an old-fashioned potato masher to mash them.  After the potatoes are mashed, add the butter and milk and incorporate all.  Potatoes are now ready to add to something else (e.g., eggplant puree above), or just douse in gravy from another recipe, or just have by themselves. 

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