The Feed Zone Cookbook Test Kitchen #3: Steak and Eggplant Salad
I picked this recipe because I’m trying a delivery service for organic produce and had just received my first bin of fruits and vegetables, which included a beautiful small eggplant. The other items from the bin that I used were a head of crisp, fresh red leaf lettuce (rather than mixed greens) and a large, gorgeous, orange-and-gold-striped tomato.
I thought this recipe might take a while to prepare because it seemed to have so many separate steps. However, it took only about 40 minutes from beginning the cooking to taking the photograph. I sped up the process by using two sauté pans, first to cook the eggplant slices and then to cook the skirt steak in two separate pieces, as it was a rather long, thin cut. I also divided the garlic and tomatoes between the two steak pans so both chunks of beef would be similarly flavored.
I used the shortcut indicated for the spice rub (1½ Tbsp. brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp. each salt and pepper—I used both celery salt and regular salt), and I thought it gave the meat a wonderful flavor. I used all-purpose flour for the seasoned mix to coat the eggplant and noted that a cup was much more than I needed—I think 2/3 cup would be plenty. I used a garlic press rather than chopping the garlic.
The recipe doesn’t mention chopping up the eggplant slices, but I cut them into about 1” chunks before combining them with the noodles, parmesan, and a bit of olive oil. I didn’t bother to combine the steak with the greens. Instead, I put the eggplant-noodle-parmesan mix on top of the lettuce, then drizzled a touch of lemon juice over the tomatoes in the pans, sliced the meat and put it on top of everything else, and finally spooned the tomatoes and garlic and juice from the sauté pan over the whole dish.
It was delicious! I would absolutely make it again, and G liked it so much that he ate an enormous second helping. I brought the leftovers for lunch the next day, and it was good cold too.
Try this recipe yourself! Download the The Feed Zone Cookbook Steak and Eggplant Salad recipe (pdf).
Note: The recipe was rather dish-intensive! I needed a small dish to mix the spice rub; a salad spinner to wash and dry the greens; the two sauté pans; a chopping knife, spatula, wooden spoon, and fork (to test the doneness of the eggplant); a pot and colander to cook the noodles (since I had none precooked); a baking sheet on which to lay out the eggplant slices and brush them with oil; and a mixing bowl to combine the noodles, eggplant, and parmesan.
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As an athlete: I’m not a competitive athlete, but I exercise most days and generally log 6 to 8 hours a week of walking, swimming, cycling, and weight lifting. I also like to hike, canoe, and cross-country ski.
In the kitchen: Despite many years of experience, I like to follow recipes because I don’t have confidence in my ability to improvise–but I can get (cautiously) creative when I need to. I lean toward things like casseroles and stews that will last for at least a couple of meals.
How I fuel: More strenuous activities create a need for food at regular intervals because I tend to be hypoglycemic.
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