Eggplant & Corn Relish + Maple Syrup with Crostini
Oh, there are so many things one can do with eggplant, and when the Market Manager told me that they’d not demoed anything with eggplants in a while, I was psyched!!
It was a cold and windy for a Saturday in July, so a warm relish on some fresh bread from The Bread Shop and Mamadou’s sounded like a good idea. Farmer Dave had the most tender and gorgeous Asian or Japanese variety this week; that with the fresh corn from Kelly’s Farm and some basil and garlic from the Flats Mentor Farm rounded up my veggies. As I walked around talking with the vendors before prep, I met the Ackermann Maple Syrup guys from Vermont, and I thought it might be interesting to add some of their golden liquid to the relish as a glaze.
Voila! The resulting relish was delish!
This recipe is so simple, I had one older market customer who tried the relish ask me in astonishment, “That’s it?!”
One tweak I’d make is cutting up the bread and toasting it like for a panzanella salad and mixing it into the relish before serving, since balancing the chunks of veggies on a crostini proved challenging at the market. Or, you could roast the eggplant and mash it before making the relish to get it into a more relish/dip like consistency that’s spreadable on a cracker or crostini.
Another addition of either soy sauce or miso would enhance the umami flavor by a few notches.
Makes Approx. 4-5 cups
2 medium-sized Japanese eggplants
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 ears of corn
1½ tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1½ baguettes cut into crostini pieces
1 handful of fresh basil
- Cut the eggplant into ½ inch cubes
- Shuck the corn and scrape the kernels off the cob in a bowl
- Chop the onions and mince the garlic cloves
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan so that all the eggplant touches the surface
- Add the onions and garlic and stir for about 2-3 minutes
- Turn the heat to medium-high and add the eggplant and some of the salt to cook and caramelize
- When the eggplant pieces start to soften add the corn
- Add the remaining salt and pepper
- Cook the corn and eggplant for about 8-10 minutes, then add the maple syrup
- Rough chop the basil leaves and set aside
- When the eggplant is fully cooked and the onions have caramelize, it’s done
- Adjust any seasoning and add the basil
- Serve with warm crostini or as a panzanella salad
Don’t hesitate to try something new, keep it simple and let the fresh ingredients speak to your guests. And let recipes like these make summer entertaining a synch.