Around this time last year I was caught in a terrible rut. Within the same week I had lost my job, endured a drastic rent increase and had spent the last of my $$$ on three large bills. Devastated after the news of my impending unemployment I was determined to eat something that wasn’t mi-goreng – in my fridge and pantry I found a small piece of cheese, a can of mex-beans an ex-housemate had left behind months prior, half a packet of stale doritoes from a party way-back-when and a very, very sad looking eggplant. I was determined to make light of this situation.
This is not a pretty dish, mainly since it’s doused in cheese, but it takes me back to a time where I was able to make do with the little I had. This is a re-worked version of this humble conglomerate of stale, kitchen staples from my kitchen of July 2010.
FOR THE NACHOS
1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
1 can cannellini beans
1 tbs ground corriander seeds
2 tbs olive oil
1 bag unflavoured corn chips
FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE
1 cup roughly chopped cheese(s) of your choosing
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs flour
salt + pepper
1. Cut your eggplant into small cubes while heating olive oil in a large pan. Scatter eggplant pieces and stir until beginning to soften – around 5-10 minutes.
2. Introduce your can of cannellini beans along with the ground corriander seeds. (I’m going easy on the spice to make way for the cheese sauce, however, if you have no intention of using cheese then by all means go to town with the corriander; this and eggplant is a match made in heaven.) Lid your pan and turn down the heat allowing the flavours infuse and for your eggplant and beans to soften moreso.
3. Meanwhile, transfer your cheese, milk and flour to a small pot over heat. (The cheese you use is completely up to you; today the objects of my dairy affection were a local gorgonzola, a regular cheddar and some baby bocconcini to mellow out the sauce.) Do not allow to boil but continue to warm and stir until the cheese pieces have entirely melted. Be sure to season to taste.
4. Plate up! In a bowl or plate layer your corn chips, then the eggplant + cannellini beans and generously top with your delicious cheese sauce. Feel free to further top with anything you like; I threw some shallots on top as a vague attempt to eat some greenery (pathetic, I know).
Enjoy with friends or even by yourself whilst watching that episode of Masterchef you missed the night before.