Eggplant Parmigiana is a super delish dish but it’s not one that you can whip up for a weeknight meal. Carrots sautéed in butter; sure those are yummy too, but how many times have you had them that way? Finding myself left with just these two vegetables, and not grooving on making either of the aforementioned standards, I wondered if these two might enjoy waltzing together on a dance floor of balsamic syrup.
Now, you may think that sounds fancy and hard. Stop, wait, remember; it’s me. The Something from Nothing - Make It Simple chick.
Some tips for this prep:
❖ Remember to cook the carrots so they are caramelized soft but still with a nice bite.
❖ Eggplant can get mushy but don’t let it go that route. You almost want to sear the outside and keep the inside al dente.
❖ Texture is important. I like the way the two textures work off one another.
❖ I cut the carrots on the diagonal, then give a quarter turn to the carrot and cut another cube. I keep quarter turning and cutting giving the carrots a multi-faceted edge. I learned this technique many moons ago from a guest on one of Martha Stewart's show. Her method was inspired by Japanese tradition, but I adopted this method and have been cutting my carrots this way ever since. No major reason, other than there are more surface areas for caramelizing and absorbing flavors. Plus, I just like it.
Balsamic Glazed Caramelized Carrot & Eggplant Sauté
2.5 c carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
1/2 c onion, thinly sliced
4 c (1 med or 2 sm Italian eggplant, cut into cubes (I leave the skins on, but you are welcome to remove if you don't like the texture)
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 T honey
Oil, salt, pepper
In a large sauté pan, caramelize the onion. In the meantime, in a roasting pan, drizzle the carrots with oil to coat, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast the carrots until they are caramelize.
(I like the flavor when oven roasting the carrots. Plus while are roasting, you can be cooking the onions and eggplant. However, If you prefer to do this in all in one pan, you can. Simply add enough water to the pan and steam the carrots until water evaporates. Add oil and let cook over medium low heat until nicely tender. Set aside and continue the rest of the recipe.)
While the carrots are cooking by your preferred method, begin sautéing the onion until soft then add the eggplant cubes. Add more oil as needed to soften eggplant until tender but not mushy. You want to get a nice sear on the eggplant.
Once cooked, remove the eggplant/onion mixture and set aside. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to the same pan and over low heat, reduce until it thickens. Then add the carrots, eggplant/onions back to the pan and stir to combine. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
Here’s to introducing the carrot to the eggplant by way of syrup. Who doesn’t get along with a little sweetness?
Post note: The next night I made baby fingerling potatoes and stirred them lovingly together with the carrots and eggplant. It was hearty and they all waltzed nicely on a dance floor of balsamic sweetness.