Saturday, April 14, 2007

growing up

When you're a kid, you accumulate many irrational dislikes when it comes to food. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, and usually vegetables in general. For me, eggplant was near the top of the list. For many years I held on to the belief that eggplant was mushy, bitter and mostly tasteless. That is, until Dina came into my life and opened my eyes to the many foods I thought I hated.

Eggplant parmigiana was on the menu tonight. It had most of what I love—tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and the comfort food factor. But, could I overcome the eggplant?

Dina cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices and salted them on both sides, placing them on layers of paper towels on a baking sheet. Half an hour later, most of the bitterness released itself and a quick dab from a paper towel dried up the slices for the next step. Reminiscent of french toast, Dina then quickly dipped the slices into a beaten egg and then some flour, and quickly fried them in a non-stick skillet.

Next, in a lasagna pan, a bit of tomato sauce was spread across the bottom, followed by a single layer of eggplant, more sauce and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. The layering continued until the assembly was 4 storeys high, with a final light dusting of cheese.

30 minutes in a 350 degree oven and out came a bubbling, saucy and incredibly delicious meal. One bite and all my childhood fears just disappeared. The lesson here: always give it a second chance.

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