I’m back, and still talking about corn

We were traveling for a bit, so I was eating out way more than I was cooking. But before we left, I promised you more corn recipes. Here is another one.

I was presented with a boat-load of corn and a big arse eggplant, and had no idea what I could do to combine the two of them. They just didn’t seem like natural partners to me. Once again, though, I was thankful for this here internet. I plugged in “corn + eggplant” and got several suggestions. The winner was….. quinoa salad with frisee, eggplant and corn. The pro: quinoa. I friggin heart quinoa. It’s awesome. What a cute, tough, versatile, nutritious little grain. Mmmmm. The con: I don’t like frisee. I find it way too bitter for my liking. I always pick it out of salad mixes. Ew.

This dish is great. It has a wonderful sweetness to it that makes it quite addictive. You get some veg, some starch, and some protein, all in one dish. Adults like it. Kids like it (when not teething, that is!). It’s a total winner. I felt like it made a ton, though – way more than the 4-6 servings it is alleged to make. I am not complaining.

I really screwed around with this recipe, so I have cut and pasted it below, and inserted my notes in italics. I hope you can follow my madness.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. salt
1 cup quinoa, uncooked (I had already cooked up a whole bunch, so I just put several heaping scoops into a bowl and called it a day. I have no clue how much I actually used, but it was plenty.)
1 graffiti or Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 ½” cubes
2 tsp. canola oil
3 tbsp. honey or agave nectar, divided  (I used agave to keep it vegan.)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. mirin (I couldn’t find any in the fridge or cupboard, so I used sherry cooking wine mixed with just a bit of sugar.)
2 tsp. sesame seeds
2 ears corn, kernels removed (approximately 2 cups)
1 head frisée, light green and white parts only, trimmed to 2″ pieces (approximately 2 cups) (um…..skipped)
⅓ cup chives, cut into ½” batons   (nope)
2 tsp. lime zest (from 1 lime)  (nada)
3 tbsp. lime juice (from 2 limes)  (I used the gross stuff from the bottle and it seemed okay.)
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Combine 6 cups of water with the 1 tbsp. salt in a 3-4 qt. saucepan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and simmer 12-15 minutes until grains are tender and have separated. Remove from heat and drain quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Set sieve back over empty pot, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest 10-15 minutes.  (This is waaaaaay more work than I have ever put into cooking quinoa. Wow. I boil and eat it. End of story.)

2. Toss eggplant cubes with 1 tbsp. salt and drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Squeeze dry. (I skipped the drain and squeeze. Wow, that sounds dirty.) Heat canola oil in a 10″ sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add eggplant and sauté until browned on all sides, 3-4 minutes. Whisk together 1 tbsp. of the honey or agave, soy sauce, and mirin. Add to eggplant, stirring to coat, and cook 1-2 minutes more until glazed. Transfer to a small bowl, toss with sesame seeds and set aside.

3. Whisk together remaining honey, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, ½ tsp. salt and fresh pepper. Toss with cooked quinoa, eggplant, corn kernels, frisée, and chives (or whatever you decide to use). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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