What to do with…Eggplant/Aubergines

eggplant cartoonEggplant or Aubergine, whichever you call it, have a beautiful shiny, dark purple skin and a taste characteristic of Mediterranean cuisine.

Where did the name come from?

Some 18th-century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs, hence the name “eggplant.”

In the western Mediterranean, the Catalan word was albergínia which was borrowed by French as aubergine, which was then borrowed into English.

 

To salt or not

The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit, to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness.

Some modern varieties do not need this treatment. The fruit is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting reduces the amount of oil absorbed.   The eggplant can be peeled or not prior to cooking.

Buying and Cooking

EggplantWhen buying an eggplant, be sure to choose one that’s firm and heavy for its size.  The skin should be smooth and free of bruises or discoloration.  It’s best to store eggplants in the refrigerator until ready to use.

It can be stewed, deep fried, batter-dipped before deep frying.  It can be roasted in its skin until soft and the pulp scooped out and mixed with other ingredients.  It can also be hollowed out and stuffed with meat, rice or other fillings and baked.

Nicotine

The nicotine content in eggplant is higher than any other edible plant.  The amount of nicotine consumed by eating eggplant is nothing compared to being in the presence of a smoker.  On average, you would need to consume 9kg/20lbs of eggplant to ingest the same nicotine amount as found in a cigarette.

Ideas

So what do you do with eggplant now that you know stuff about it?

Slice into rounds, saute in olive oil, serve hot, warm or cold with yogurt, garlic & dill sauce.

Cut thin slices and make little rolls with a slice of fresh mozzarella, a sun-dried tomato, and a piece of roasted red pepper. Put rolls in a serving dish. Cover with a creamy cheese sauce or tomato sauce and bake at 350°f/180°c for about 30-45 minutes until bubbly.

You can also try out my recipe for Eggplant Lasagna if you want something hardy!

Cubed eggplant can also be added to stews and soups and is quite popular in Indian cooking.

So go get yourself some eggplant and whip up something different for dinner tonight!

♥  Terri  ♥

 

 

 

 

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