“The theme of today’s yoga practice is: Get quiet, live loud,” proclaimed the yoga teacher A. Yes, there is always a theme that is supposed to focus our minds to facilitate the body movements during the yoga session. Even after an hour, my mind seemed to be stuck on the dichotomy between quiet and loud. Or is it yin and yang?
At IHCC this week, we continue to feature Jacques Pepin’s recipes, but with a twist. We are not cooking to his best known dishes, which are French. We are traveling the globe and cooking any Pepin’s non-French recipes. Sounds like fun. I chose something from the Far East: Asian eggplant salad, found in Pepin’s Fast Food My Way. A dish with eastern influence composed with the sensibility of a western, or French, chef. Well, why not?
I spotted these really nice purple eggplants, just perfect for a light dish of eggplant salad for a hot summer day. There are only two steps: roasting the eggplants in the oven and making the Asian dressing. It was fast and easy. I roasted one eggplant, making half of the recipe. Lunch service for one in quietude. What I didn’t expect was the incredible balance of flavor in this simple salad. That’s huge!
The flesh of the eggplant was soft and meaty at the same time, but somewhat demure. The dressing was pungent, loud and very much in your face, but in a good way. You would expect that given the strong ingredients: soy sauce, chopped garlic, sesame oil and Tabasco sauce (which I substituted with Sriracha). None of them are shy. The crisp and spicy watercress went well with the eggplant and the sauce. I didn’t know I like watercress that much. Warm eggplant with cold greens was also compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch, teeming with excitement over a simple dish. A well-balanced and delectable salad full of amazing flavors. The quiet of the eggplant and loudness of the Asian dressing and watercress played well together — in perfect harmony. Each ingredient brings out the best in the other, creating a shining cohesive whole.
Like getting quiet inside in order to live a balanced life loud and clear. Thank you, A. I got it… Or not?