Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
Eggplant lovers rejoice! We are heading into late summer and heat-loving eggplant are here for it. This week we are sharing an Adobo-style Eggplant recipe by Sohla El-Waylly and welcoming leadership changes to Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit has recently named Sonia Chopra as the Executive Editor and Dawn Davis as Editor in Chief, both women of color with decades of experience in the culinary/publishing world. We are excited to see these changes and that chefs like Sohla promote shopping at the farmers market. We recommend Japanese or Italian eggplant for this adobo recipe, but any eggplant found at the market will work just fine. Faust Farms has a local eggplant variety bag available at the Sunday Parkway and Wednesday Bucktown drive-thru markets so you are good to go!
- 1 lb. small Japanese or Italian eggplant (about 3)
- 2 Tbsp. (or more) sugar, divided
- 1¼ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
- 1½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 8 garlic cloves
- 3 Tbsp. (or more) vegetable oil
- 4 oz. ground pork
- 3 Tbsp. coconut vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- Cooked white rice (for serving)
Slice 1 lb. small Japanese or Italian eggplant (about 3) into quarters lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2"-wide pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Toss to evenly coat eggplant and let sit at room temperature at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Peel and thinly slice 8 garlic cloves. Add 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil and half of garlic to a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until light, golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic chips to a plate; season lightly with salt.
Place 4 oz. ground pork in the same pot and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Season with ¼ tsp. Diamond Crystal or Morton kosher salt and cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to another plate, leaving the fat behind in pot.
Place eggplant on a clean kitchen towel and blot away any moisture the salt has drawn out.
Working in batches and adding more oil if needed, cook eggplant in the same pot until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with pork.
Pour 1½ cups water into a pot and scrape up browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add remaining garlic, 3 Tbsp. coconut vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Bring to a simmer, then return pork and eggplant to the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until eggplant is tender and silky and sauce is reduced by half, 20–25 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper and add a little more sugar if needed.
Top with garlic chips and serve with cooked white rice.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.