09 August 2011

Eggplant <--> Aubergine

Zuben's excited about our Eggplants

Whichever you may prefer, the eggplant (or aubergine) is quite a mysterious fruit. Much like a spongy mushroom, the off-white flesh hidden beneath the tough, shiny purple skin will easily absorb cooking oils or juices, resulting in an either very rich dishes like Imam bayildi, or sloppy flavorful morsels like that in Ratatouille.

This is my third year growing the plump purple fruits, and for the second year in a row, the harvest is bountiful (the first year was dismal due to hungry flea beetles). So far, I have made the most amazing Eggplant Parmesan, where I used our homemade roasted tomato pasta sauce with sauteed baby zucchini and fresh ricotta cheese. I have also stabbed the eggplants repeatedly with forks, charred them over open-flame, then roasted them in the oven until the fruit became almost gelatinous to make Baba Ganoush.

Through my aubergine adventures, I have discovered why it is essential to make food plans. To make an impromptu dish with these babies, I must agree with myself in advance to make sacrifices in texture and flavor. Through no fault of my own as the farmer, eggplants are filled with subtle-bitterness and very moist, and this is where salt is very necessary. LOTS of salt. When I can contrive my eggplant dish well in advance, I like to cut the fruits then douse them with a blanket of salt to osmolyze the gratuitous water, which will also purge much of the bitterness. After waiting about an hour, sometimes two, for the dehydration of the sliced or chunked morsels, I wipe away the excess salt, then press clean towels firmly to dry the fruit as best I can.

Despite time-challenges, cooking with eggplant is quite simple, and I'm looking forward to many other culinary feats from the lavish yield I'm getting this summer. Next up, Caponata, Soup, Fries, and Greek-Style Stuffed Eggplant.

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