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What the staff eats at restaurants.
Lauren Shockey (Lauren on food52), a line cook at Carmella Bistro in Tel Aviv, Israel, shares a recipe for a twist on an old standby -- mashed potatoes. Hearty and comforting, they're a perfect fall side. -Helen
Flame-roasted Eggplants are a staple of Israeli and Mediterranean food, and also a fixture at Carmella Bistro in Tel Aviv, the restaurant where I am currently working. While usually served whole drizzled with tahini or pureed to make baba ganoush, at the restaurant, we add roasted eggplant pulp to mashed potatoes. Everyone likes mashed potatoes, but let’s be honest, they can get a little boring. That’s why roasted eggplant mashed potatoes are great; they are lightly smoky in taste and possess a depth not usually associated with the starchy spuds.
We serve this dish as an accompaniment to a fish dish, but because that means we have to make it every day, we frequently make a larger batch and serve some as part of our family meal, usually as an accompaniment to herb-roasted chicken drumsticks, or lamb meatballs, or the oddly ubiquitous chicken schnitzel. As you’ll see, they basically go with anything.
Serves 6 as a side dish
- 3 pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes (like Yukon Gold)
- 1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
- 1 cup whole milk
- salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 small to medium eggplant
- Preheat a grill to high. Pierce the eggplant several times with a fork or a knife. Grill the eggplant on all sides until the skin has blackened and charred completely (This may also be done by broiling the eggplant in the oven, but it will not taste quite as good.). Set aside to cool slightly. While still warm, cut off the top of the eggplant and make a vertical slit down the base of the eggplant. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place in a colander for about half an hour to drain any excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl and mash up the eggplant with a fork.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Place in a large pot and cover completely with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes or so. The potatoes will be done when you pierce them with a knife and the potato falls off the knife. Using a ricer/food mill, puree the potatoes back into the pot you cooked them in.
- Meanwhile, place the butter, milk, salt, and nutmeg in a saucepan and cook until the milk is steaming and the butter has completely melted. Add to the potatoes, along with the eggplant pulp, and stir gently until smooth and combined. Serve immediately.