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The Incredible, Edible EGG…plant
Eggplant can be cooked with or without the skin on (It’s more a matter of appearance and texture than taste.), but ironically, among the biggest knocks on eggplant are the occasional abundance of seeds and the bitterness in some of them.
Eggplants have seeds of course–some more than others. The seeds are completely edible, albeit a bit bitter. Some chefs use the terms Female and Male eggplant when speaking about the amount of seeds (the female having more). But in all honesty, all eggplants are self-pollinating, and therefore, are BOTH male and female.
The luck (or rather un-luck) of purchasing an eggplant with a lot of seeds is rather random, although occasionally, a lot will come through from a farm on which an entire field had eggplants, and they were only partially pollinated (Botanists believe this causes the excessive interior seeds.). Generally however, most eggplants don’t have an excessive amount of seeds.
On the bitterness, I can recommend a tip. When using your eggplant, after slicing, salt each side and place between paper towels for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat gently, and you will notice moisture on the paper towel. This step will help remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant juices, which will make the resulting taste more sweet and pleasant.
Ready to try an eggplant recipe?
I’ll recommend one in our Entrée Recipe section called Eggplant Rollatini. It uses eggplant as a wrap around basil pesto seasoned angel hair pasta and topped with Marinara Sauce.
It’s one of my very favorite eggplant dishes.
Another one of my favorite uses for eggplant is the classic Eggplant Caponata. It can be served cold or warm as a Tapenade with toasts and is a VERY healthy dish. It even works well as an alternative sauce over grilled chicken or fish.
3 Cups Eggplant, Regina (Your Choice) Large Dice, Salted & Rinsed
3 TBSP Olive Oil
¾ Cup Sweet Onion, Medium Dice
2 tsp Garlic, Fresh, Minced
1 Lg Tomato, De-Seeded, Large Dice
¼ Cup Kalamata Olives, Pitted, Rough Chopped
1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBSP Olive Oil
¾ Cup Colorful Bell Peppers, Medium Dice
1 TBSP Capers, Drained, Chopped
2 TBSP Pine Nuts, Toasted, Whole
1 ½ TBSP Parsley, Italian, Chopped
1 tsp Oregano, Fresh, Chopped
To Taste Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
1. In a large sauté pan, sauté the eggplant in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until golden in color.
2. Add the onions, and sauté until soft. Then add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
3. Remove pan from the heat and place the sautéed mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
4. Add all of the other ingredients, and mix well.
5. Serve chilled or at room temperature, with sliced bread, toasted bread, or crackers.
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