eggplant recipes

Eggplant is popular around the world, and gives the sophisticated home chef a chance to create classic dishes as well as experiment with a wide range of contemporary eggplant recipes and fully explore this extraordinary fruit. Yes, eggplant is a fruit, but it is prepared a served in savory dishes as if it were a vegetable. Eggplant is perfect for simple, creative, delicious dishes. It can be found as a main ingredient in appetizers, salads, soups, main courses, casseroles and side dishes.

Eggplant can be found in most supermarkets, farmers markets and specialty produce stores on a year-round basis, although peak season for is in late summer and early fall. It is very low in calories, sodium, and saturated fat, and sodium. Its calories come mainly in the form of carbohydrates and sugar. One serving, equal to one cup of eggplant diced in cubes, provides about 10% of the daily requirement for dietary fiber, and one gram of vegetable protein.

The purple variety is the most common found in stores, and is identified by its dark, shiny skin. It is known in the States as a regular or classic, and by the names Purple Globe, Black Beauty, Black Magic, and Black Bell. This variety has a pear shape and can range in size from 2 to 4 inches wide by 5 to 9 inches long. Average size is around 3/4 of a pound. The smaller varieties tend to have fewer seeds. The skin should be shiny and free of blemishes and bruises. Press your finger gently into the side of the eggplant. If the fruit gives but bounces back to its original shape, the eggplant is ripe. The fruit should feel firm and heavy for its size, and as it perishes fairly quickly, it should be purchased and prepared within a few days. To store, wrap in a paper towel, place loosely in a perforated bag, and in the produce section of your refrigerator. Uncut, it will store well for 5 to 7 days, after which it will begin to wrinkle and the sugars will begin to break down.

Depending on the variety, eggplant can be found in many colors including white, red, and green. Popular varieties include Chinese, Italian, Sicilian, White, Baby, Indian, Japanese, African, and Thai. Many of these varieties may be found only in larger metropolitan areas or in specialty produce stores. They are worth seeking out to enjoy. Most varieties are considerably smaller than the purple variety we see every day in our supermarkets.

It should be noted that eggplant must be cooked before being eaten. They contain a small amount of toxic solanine which is destroyed when cooked. Depending on the variety, or your recipe, you may or may need to remove the skin. The skin on most varieties is edible, but on some varieties and larger specimens the skin is just not palatable. The skin can be removed in advance of cooking with a vegetable peeler, or after cooking the flesh can be removed from the shell, and the skin discarded.  

To prepare an eggplant for cooking, wash the exterior skin with warm water. Using a stainless steel knife to cut the calyx off the top and remove a small portion of the base. It is now ready to be cooked whole, halved, or cut into any number of smaller pieces. For best results, it should be cut just prior to using as it does oxidize fairly quickly. It absorbs liquid and flavors of other ingredients, which makes it a desirable ingredient to cook and experiment with. To reduce the moisture in eggplant slices, sprinkle with coarse salt, and place in a colander to drain. Placing a heavy object over the slices to force out moisture can help the process. After 20-30 minutes, rinse the slices, and pat dry with a paper towel. The salting technique removes some of the moisture before cooking, which will decrease its likelihood of burning as well as the water being replaced by cooking oil, and it reduces any bitterness that may be present.

Exotic in taste and texture, eggplant can be prepared in a variety of different ways including steaming, sautéing, oven roasting, broiling, and grilling. A savory ingredient, eggplant works well in appetizers, salads, soups, sides and main dishes. It pairs very well with tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Classic eggplant dishes include Eggplant Parmesan or Eggplant Parmigiana, Moussaka, Ratatouille, Baba Ghanoush, and Caponata. The texture of properly prepared eggplant makes it the perfect choice as a replacement for meat in veggie burgers, casseroles, and other side and main dishes. The slices can be used as mini pizza crusts, grilled first and then topped with any number of ingredients including mushrooms, tomatoes, and melted cheese. Whole eggplants are often hollowed out and the shell is used to hold a stuffing prepared from a variety of ingredients including rice and other grains, chopped vegetables, cheese and nuts. present a unique collection of eggplant recipes for every cooking method and every dish. Find recipes representing classic dishes from cuisines around the globe. Learn the proper way to select, care and prepare this extraordinary fruit.

eggplant favorites:
Baba Ganoush
Classic Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant Bake
Eggplant Casserole
Eggplant Dip
Eggplant French Fries
Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Rollatini
Fried Eggplant
Grilled Eggplant
Roasted Eggplant
Roasted Vegetables
Stuffed Eggplant
complete recipe list »


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