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Eggplant is tear-shaped, and usually purple-black in color. A member of the nightshade family, eggplant is related to the tomato and potato. Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, it is actually a fruit ... specifically, a berry. Its fleshy and substantive texture makes it a good replacement for meat.
Selection: Choose eggplant with bright, shiny, taut skin and no soft spots. Larger eggplants are more likely to have lots of seeds and a bitter flavor.
Storage and handling: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.
Preparation: Trim the green caps and slice or dice the flesh. To peel or not to peel -- the choice is up to you. If it's very fresh, it won't need peeling, but as eggplant ages, the skin tends to get tougher. In some recipes leaving the skin on is actually an advantage since it not only adds color, but also helps cut-up pieces hold their shape. Salting older eggplant before cooking removes bitter flavors. Cut as desired, sprinkle with salt, leave in colander for 30 minutes, squeeze gently and pat dry. Sauté salted, drained cubes in small amount of hot oil 6-8 minutes, stirring or shaking constantly, until browned and tender. Broil peeled slices, brushed with oil and placed on a broiler pan rack, 5 inches from heat source until browned on each side. Microwave cubed eggplant, covered, 3-4 minutes. Don't be tricked into using too much oil -- eggplant is very porous and soaks up oil like a sponge, so beware when sautéing or stir-frying. If the eggplant absorbs all the oil in the pan, don't add more (1 tablespoon per pound is enough). Cut surfaces will brown quickly when exposed to air but won't affect flavor when cooked.
Serving suggestions: Not usually eaten raw. Sauté eggplant with other vegetables or with garlic and herbs. Roasted eggplant can be topped with a thin layer of pesto or olive tapenade, or sprinkled with cheese then broiled. Try eggplant burgers.
Nutrients (when cooked): Fat, sodium and cholesterol free. Low in calories.
- 1 med. size eggplant (12 oz. - 375 gm.)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (optional)
- Grill eggplant over charcoal fire or place over center shelf in hot oven (375-400 degrees) on a baking dish.
- Bake until soft, after 1/2 hour check if it is soft by poking with a fork. You can also cook in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wait till it cools, then peel off the stem, or chop ends off and remove skin by sliding off.
- Chop up entire eggplant, and puree in blender or mash with fork until creamy.
- Mix rest of ingredients in and continue pureeing or mashing. Adjust lemon juice and salt to taste.
Spicy Eggplant Stir-Fry
- 5 Japanese eggplants (about 2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry white vermouth
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce
- 2 green onions, thinly, sliced
- 1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
- Trim off eggplant stems.
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, cut each half lengthwise into 1-inch (2. 5 cm) thick strips.
- Cut each strip into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces; place in colander.
- Sprinkle with salt; let stand for 1 hour.
- Pat dry.
- In large wok or shallow Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry garlic and onion for 2 minutes.
- Add eggplant; stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients; pour into wok, cover and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
- 3 Medium To Small Eggplants
- 1 Pound Mozzarella
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Oil For Deep Frying
- Salt & Pepper
Cut the eggplants into round slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the cheese into thin slices to match the size of the eggplant rounds. Beat the eggs, and place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Take two equal sized slices of eggplant, and place a slice of cheese and a fresh basil leaf between them. Carefully dip the "sandwich" first into the egg dip, and then into the bread crumbs. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet about 1 inch deep. Cook the eggplant sandwiches until they are golden brown. Keep them warm in the oven, while you continue to cook the rest. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 eggplant, medium dice
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- In a saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add scallion, garlic, oregano and thyme and stir well to combine.
- Add eggplant and saute 2-3 minutes or until eggplant becomes soft and the flesh is several shades darker. Add basil and saute for 30 more seconds.
- Season with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Latest page update: made by Olivia_Lane
, Apr 8 2008, 2:54 PM EDT
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