Tim Norwood of Sea Salt Florida Solves his Eggplant Problem

Good Bite

BY ANDREW FABIAN, ANDREW.FABIAN@SRQME.COM SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY MAY 26, 2020

Tim Norwood hates eggplant and always has. “It has no place in my world,” he says. But Norwood is a tinkerer and problem solver with a career path that seems like a series of unrelated jobs except for the tinkering and problem solving—municipal architect, yacht designer, automotive engineer, intermittent inventor and, now, owner-operator of Sea Salt Florida, the salt harvesting company he and his wife built as their fun retirement project. It would be safe to assume that no problem exists outside of his brain’s purview, including eggplant. “There’s nothing I ever tried I didn’t feel like I could do,” he says. So, Norwood set out to attack the problem with the same brainy, boyish gusto he applies to all his endeavors and came up with a solution to his eggplant problem.

The recipe begins with four eggplants cut in half along their vertical axes, stems chopped off. Slits are cut into the exposed flesh and stuffed with shredded fontina cheese, about ¾ cup divided amongst the pieces. Norwood then makes a delicious mash that includes some proprietary blends from Sea Salt Florida’s vaults, including two cloves of his house made black garlic and his salt and pepper blend. These are crushed and blended along with 2/3 cup of olive oil and a handful of basil leaves. “You want it kinda runny,” he says, “so it can get down into the slits with the cheese too.” The mash is spread evenly over the eggplants and topped with another drizzle of olive oil before being tossed into a 375-degree oven on a baking sheet. In 20-30 minutes, the cheese bubbles, the eggplant browns and glazes over and the kitchen glows with the mouthwatering smell of garlic, basil and olive oil.

Another bonus for the Norwood household comes in the form of their newly developed black garlic sea salt blend. “Since I have all of my products at my disposal, I actually use that as my table salt.” The result is an over-engineered eggplant dish with the power to change food preferences—sort of. “I still don’t like eggplant,” he jokes, “but made this way it’s actually not bad!”

Pictured: Tim Norwood peddles his locally-harvested sea salt to farmer's market shoppers. Photo courtesy of Sea Salt Florida.

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