Our trip to Spain in May was inspirational on so many levels. Not only was the country beautiful, the company wonderful and the food delicious, but there is a way of life there that is hard to compare to America. The 6 weeks mandatory vacation, stores & restaurants closing each afternoon for siesta and especially the time they take to enjoy their meals and the company around them.
We have one of the most amazing meals of our trip the first night we were there. Staying in a small town just south of Seville, we took the recommendation of a neighbor and ventured into the heart of the town to eat at a restaurant filled only with locals. We took our time, ordered our way through the menu, drank delicious Spanish wine, and ended up with a bill far less than we would have had in the States and many great memories to go with it.
For me one of those great memories was a dish that we had early on in the meal. As soon as I took my first bite I knew this would be one of many dishes I would have to figure out how to recreate once we were home.
A slice of eggplant, battered & fried…. topped with a wedge of goat brie and drizzled with sorghum syrup.
It was amazing on so many levels. Not only was it topped with goat cheese, which of course sold me, but the eggplant was crisp and delicious, not the usual slimy mess you end up with. We loved it so much that we went back a 2nd night just to have it one more time.
2 months later, I finally got an eggplant in our CSA delivery. Oh Happy Day. Time to finally try, so we invited a couple of our friends over as guinea pigs and dubbed it “Spain Night”
For those of you unfamiliar with sorghum - it is actually a grain which is used to make the syrup, having a similar flavor to molasses but not quite as intense.
Goat Brie is pretty much what you would expect - a perfect blend between goat cheese and brie. I personally am not much of a brie fan, but this cheese I could scarf down easily.
This dish could really justify as desert it is so sweet, creamy and delicious, but is intended to make a great appetizer.
CORNMEAL CRUSTED EGGPLANT WITH GOAT BRIE & SORGHUM SYRUP
1 small eggplant
1 Tbs salt
1 cup corn meal
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups canola oil
1 4-6 ounce round of goat brie
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. (If your eggplant is fairly large on the bottom I recommend cutting those bottom slices in half for ease of frying) Toss in a bowl with the salt and allow to sit for approx 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly and place on a paper towel to dry. As the eggplant is drying, heat the oil in a deep saute pan or dutch oven to 350 degrees. Fill one bowl with the buttermilk and another with the cornmeal. Once the oil is heated, dip each of your eggplant slices in the buttermilk, and then the corn meal, knocking off any excess before placing gently in the hot oil. Once the eggplant has begun frying, monitor the temperature of the oil to keep it as close to 350 as possible, it will drop once you add the eggplant. Fry for approx 5 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a papertowel to drain.
Immediately place slices of the goat brie on top of the warm eggplant to melt. Once the eggplant has cooled enough to touch, plate and drizzle with the sorghum syrup. Consume immediately… as if you will be able to resist it anyways.