Sometimes vegetables get the short end of the stick. They are an after thought, if even thought of at all. Many vegetables are not familiar to people, so they will not buy them and cook them. I count eggplant and fennel among those.
See those lovely Japanese eggplants in the photo above. I am proud to say I grew them all by myself! My little backyard garden has been providing my family and I with fresh herbs, Tuscan kale, cucumbers, sugar snap peas and eggplant this summer. There really is nothing better than picking something, rinsing it and eating it all within moments. And I know there are no dangerous pesticides on my vegetables, so I can feel good giving them to my family.
I recently planted some yams which had sprouted in my kitchen. I was a bit slow cooking them, so when they started growing some nice roots, I figured I may as well plant them and see what I get! I may plant some other potatoes too, since I can eat potatoes daily. Must be the Irish ancestors influence. . .
Speaking of potatoes, I received a sample bag of potatoes from The Little Potato Company, called the Terrific Trio. There were red, yellow and blue varieties mixed together. I had just picked some of the ripe eggplant, and wanted to cook them as soon as possible. Potatoes and eggplants together sounded tasty.
And then this arrived at my door. . .
Is this not the most gorgeous pot? It’s a Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron 6 quart Dutch oven. Seriously, I have been dreaming of an enameled cast iron pot forever. Mind you, I have enough pots and pans to open a cook’s store, but I still coveted this particular piece of cookware. Like some people dream of a red sports car, I dreamed of a red Dutch oven. Oh, and I’ll take a red sports car too.
Now I could cook my eggplant in style, with the additional of the fancy potatoes and some fennel. And wine. Lots of wine. As I always say, don’t cook with a wine you will not drink. I would recommend a lighter, fruity wine for this dish, one that is not too acidic.
Once the vegetables are cut, most of the work in done. The shallots are slightly caramelized, the fennel is softened, then everything else goes in to simmer.
Cover the pot, set the timer and walk away.And then you get this. . .
A colorful, flavorful and fabulous vegetarian main dish or side dish. Don’t be afraid to use vegetables with different textures and different colors. They will hopefully become staples on your dinner table.
Recipe: Tri-Color Potatoes, Japanese Eggplant and Fennel in Wine Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes
- 2 cups white wine
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil over medium low heat in a large, deep pot.
- Cook the shallots for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized.
- Add the fennel, salt, thyme and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the fennel is softened.
- Add the eggplant, potatoes and wine, stirring to mix well.
- Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
- Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the remaining butter.
- Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
* I received my dream enameled cast iron pot as part of a promotion sponsored by GigaSavvy Marketing