A Word On Food: Eggplant

The plan was to see a movie. I bought our tickets online which seemed like a safe bet. But when we got to the theater at the large mall it was locked up. Easter being the reason. Despite the tickets we realized we’d not be watching the great Frances McDormand today. So I looked about. The restaurants on the exterior of the mall were open. We were already parked. Sometimes life just has a way of saying. “Make the best out of it”. I strolled over to study a menu mounted on the wall of a brightly painted place named “Ornos”, a place dedicated to the pleasureful history and culture of Greek cookery. I went back to my wife, Janet and said, “I guess it is meant to be”. So we went inside and soon were seated. The general manager came over and asked, “Chef Norman?” Soon we had a bottle of lovely Greek wine, an excellent server and some alluring appetizers on our table. One that I had to try was an eggplant specialty named, “Meli-zano-salata”. It is a simple, rustic Greek eggplant dip made with roasted, perfectly smoky eggplant, garlic, parsley, red onions, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. At Ornos it comes with pita bread as it should.  One of the barometers for me to determine if a chef can cook is how they handle a dish featuring eggplant. You can learn a lot on how this tricky item is served … so I often resist the temptation in restaurants I don’t already know. But … I was feeling lucky and our luck held up. 

From his magnum opus, “The Oxford Companion” by Alan Davidson…..

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Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken 

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