Thai-Style Sous Vide Eggplant Salad

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Kate is a freelance food writer and editor living in Berkeley, CA. Before moving to the Bay Area, Kate spent two years working as a test cook at America’s Test Kitchen, and has contributed to Serious Eats, The Oxford American, KQED and The Hypocrite Reader, among othe ...

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Recipe Temp 185 F / 85 C
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I can't tell you how many times I've talked to people who claim to dislike eggplant. The problem, I've decided, isn't the eggplant — it's the cooking method. Prepared improperly, eggplant can be spongy, dry, and bitter. Cooked sous vide using the Anova Precision Cooker, however, eggplant turns sweet and silky smooth every time. Char the sous vide eggplant under the broiler and toss it with herbs, shallots, fried garlic, and a vibrant Thai-style dressing for a fun and funky side dish that's perfect for a summer picnic. This recipe was inspired by a side dish in Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook. 
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Ingredients for 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds long Asian eggplants (Japanese or Chinese), trimmed

  • 1/4 cup (59 mL) vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup (32 g) roughly chopped garlic (about 1 head)

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons (44 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons (33 mL) fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) dark brown sugar

  • 4 small green Thai chiles, thinly sliced

  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces

  • 1/4 cup (32 g) thinly sliced shallots

  • 1/4 cup (32 g) fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  • Step 1

    Set the Anova Precision Cooker to 185ºF (85ºC).

  • Step 2

    Place the eggplant in a single layer in a large zipper lock or vacuum seal bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer on the dry setting. Place in the water bath and set the timer for 3 hours. (If using zipper lock bags, you will need to weigh down the eggplant to keep it submerged.)

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, prepare the fried garlic: Place the oil and garlic in a small skillet over medium heat. Let the oil heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Continue to fry, stirring constantly, until the garlic turns golden brown. Immediately drain through a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl. Transfer the garlic to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Set aside. Reserve the garlic oil for another use.

  • Step 4

    Prepare the dressing: Combine lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and chiles in a small jar. Cover the jar with the lid and shake until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

    • Finishing Steps

    • Step 1

      When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Remove the eggplant from the bag and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Heat broiler to high.

    • Step 2

      Broil eggplant until well-charred on both sides, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

    • Step 3

      Using your fingers or a sharp knife, partially peel the eggplant. Leave some skin on for flavor. Tear or cut eggplant into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a serving plate. Top eggplant with eggs, shallots, and prepared dressing. Garnish with fried garlic and cilantro. Serve.

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185 F / 85 C Recipe Temp
Recipe Time
Prep Time