Secret Ingredient: Anchovies.

A is for Anchovies AND Awesome.  Coincidence?  I think not.  One of the entries for the eggplant competition had such depth of flavor in the sauce and what do think one of components was?  Anchovies of course.  The best pork meatballs that I ever made?  Anchovies.  The best ricotta gnocchi ever?  Anchovies.

This all leads me to the little box of anchovies left behind by my former roommate which beckoned me to add them to my tomato based coconut curry sauce last night.

Fried Eggplant with Tomato Coconut Curry & Quinoa

(serves 4 – 6)

1 onion, diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced small

1 cayenne pepper, minced (seeds and all)

1 tablespoon curry powder of your choice

1 tablespoon garam masala

4 medium to large tomatoes

1/2 can of coconut milk

1 medium eggplant, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

2 eggs, beaten

1.5 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup flour

vegetable or canola oil

salt

1/2 cup basil leaves, packed, chiffonade

1 cup quinoa ( cook according to directions)

The first thing you will want to do is sweat the eggplant.  Cut it into rounds and sprinkle salt over the top.  Set it on a tray aside while you work on the sauce.

In a medium skillet heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Then add the onion, garlic and red pepper.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften a bit, around 5 – 7 minutes.  Add the curry, cayenne and anchovies.

Next, cut up the tomatoes into about 1 inch chunks (it doesn’t really matter how specific you are here b/c they are just going to cook down anyway).  Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and garam masala to the pan.  Turn the heat to low and let simmer while you fry the eggplant.

Pat the moisture off of the eggplant slices with a clean towel.  To bread the eggplant, first dip a slice in the beaten egg to coat then the breadcrumbs  and finally get a coat of flour on there.

Before you begin frying the eggplant, you should put on the quinoa to cook.  Quinoa cooks pretty much like rice but contains protein, hooray!!  And is super tasty.

Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a shallow frying pan and begin to brown the eggplant lightly on both sides.

Serve the fried eggplant over quinoa with tomato curry sauce.

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