The Canned Vegetable Duff Goldman Always Keeps On Hand - Exclusive

Duff Goldman, host of "Spring Baking Championship" and numerous other Food Network shows over the years, is a big fan of eggplant, though he knows not everyone feels that way. As he told MegaMenu in an exclusive interview, "I find eggplant is a lot like coconut, where it's pretty polarizing ... My wife wants nothing to do with it, and I love eggplant."

That controversial quality doesn't stop him from using eggplant in his home cooking and incorporating it into dishes like shakshuka. And when Goldman doesn't feel like cooking eggplant himself, he gets a can from the pantry to snack on. "Sadaf makes a canned fried eggplant. It's not crispy, obviously. And to me it's more like stewed, very Persian. It's delicious right out of the can. Open up the can and get a fork."

Sadaf's canned fried eggplant is much more than just eggplant — it's fried and cooked with tomato paste, onions, garlic, and spices. With all of the extra seasoning, it's no wonder that it can be eaten as a standalone dish. If you're looking for something easy to add to a Mediterranean mezze platter, it would be the perfect fit; it's also good as a condiment for eggs or meat, and it would make a great addition to sabich (a breakfast sandwich stuffed with eggplant, hummus, salad, and chutney).

Finding Sadaf products for your home kitchen

In our interview, Duff Goldman also shouted out Sadaf's canned olives and giardiniera (a vegetable-filled condiment that's a great upgrade for any sandwich). The brand makes a huge variety of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern pantry items, ranging from yogurt drinks to spices to canned goods. If you don't live in an area where grocery stores stock a lot of Sadaf products, they're pretty easy to get online; the fried eggplant, specifically, is available from multiple online retailers.

Alternatively, you can make the dish that the canned eggplant is based on from scratch. Sadaf's product is a version of a Turkish recipe called patlican kizartma, and it's not that hard to make. Just fry sliced eggplant in olive oil, then braise it in a seasoned tomato sauce until it's tender. Remember to let the eggplant sit in a brine for a while before cooking to purge any bitter flavors, and if you want to cook it to Duff's taste, make sure it doesn't get too soft — he admits that over-cooked eggplant "isn't the most pleasant thing."

Watch Duff Goldman on Food Network's "Spring Baking Championship." You can also have cakes shipped from Charm City Cakes nationwide.