Eggplant is back next week and we cannot wait to make all of the delicious meals eggplant is so good for. We wanted to share with you a quick overview on the historical and wonderful veggie…
Eggplant’s subtle and distinctive combination of textures and flavors – smooth, fleshy, creamy, smoky – make it a versatile and beguiling component of many great dishes.
The eggplant is thought to be of Indian origin and records show that it was being cultivated in China in the fifth century. From around the fifteenth century it became increasingly popular in Mediterranean Europe and has long been established in classic dishes such as moussaka (from Greece) and ratatouille (southern France).
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is botanically not a vegetable but a berry.
Eggplant is a good source of fiber and folic acid. The color of the skin is a result of the presence ofanthocyanins – compounds with antioxidant properties.
Choose eggplants that feel heavy with smooth, taut, unblemished skin and fresh-looking unwithered green stalks.
Eggplants are easily damaged; handle with care. They keep in the fridge for a few days.
In the past it was normal to salt eggplants to remove bitterness and moisture. Modern eggplants are rarely too bitter, but salting can help reduce the amount of oil aubergines absorb during cooking. Cut the eggplant into thick slices, salt well and stand in a colander for around half an hour to allow the juices to drain away. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a kitchen towel.
Roasting, griddling and frying (with a good batter to reduce the amount of oil absorbed) are all suitable cooking methods.
Eggplant is a key ingredient in Imam Bayildi, a dish popular throughout the Arab world. According to legend the dish’s name, which translates as ‘the imam fainted’, arose after an imam passed out due to the deliciousness of the dish.
Try some of these fantastic recipes perfect for any occasion.