White Eggplant Slices Steamed with Black Beans and Orange Zest

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

Pungent, dark, nubbly seasoning transforms mild, smooth eggplant. Steaming ensures a creamy texture, softens the somewhat sturdy white skin, helps prevent darkening, and provides a speedy non-traditional cooking method.

Serve hot, with rice pilaf and roasted poultry (or not, for a vegetarian meal). Double the recipe (prepare in batches) to offer as part of a buffet meal, at room temperature. Or chill and serve with a sprinkling of cilantro, as a salad course.

Ingredients

  • 2 slim white eggplants (about 8 inches long, about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons corn or peanut oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese fermented black beans
  • 1 small orange, well scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-thin-sliced scallion greens

    Method

    1. Slice eggplants on sharp diagonal into slices as long as possible and ½ to ¾ inch thick (about 12 slices). Score deeply. Set on wide steamer rack (such as bamboo). With fork, whisk together both oils, salt, and vinegar to emulsify. Spoon onto slices, smoothing over the surface to coat.
    2. Chop black beans very fine. Remove a few thin strips of zest from orange with swivel peeler. Stack and cut crosswise into hair-thin strips. Then cut into fine confetti to yield 1½ teaspoons. Sprinkle first the beans, then the zest over eggplant.
    3. Set rack over boiling water, cover, and steam until slices are creamy-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove rack from steamer. Sprinkle slices at once with scallion greens. Transfer to platter.