So I’ve been reading all about Algerian pop music lately and it made me think, why don’t I take these two beautiful eggplants I have sitting around and make one French-style and one North African-style? So I did. The Moroccan recipe wins hands-down. Julia Child’s Eggplant a la Grecque isn’t bad – actually it’s quite nice – but you really can’t beat candied eggplant. I mean, it’s candied. And it’s eggplant. At the same time. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to trying it. Lovely for brunch or after dinner.
Candied Eggplant & Squash
Adapted from Ghillie Basan’s Flavors of Morocco
1 eggplant and 1 squash (any squash you have on hand)
1 cup water
2 1/4 cups sugar
A few spoonfuls of lemon juice
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cinnamon
A bit of star anise, coarsely ground
A few sprigs of fresh lavender
Slice the veggies lenthwise and cut in half to make large wedges. Steam them for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, make the syrup by mixing the water and sugar and bringing to a boil, then stirring in the herbs and spices, reducing to a simmer, and cooking on low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove the veggies from heat, let them drain a bit, then place them in the syrup, making sure they are totally submerged, and cook, covered, on very low heat for an hour (I had to do this in two batches, but it will depend upon how big your veggies are). Check and stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn and all the veggies are getting coated.
Remove from heat; drizzle with leftover syrup when serving. You can also store these in sealed jars (if you can keep yourself from eating them right away).
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