EGGPLANTS: How to Prepare and Cook

Updated: Mar 27

Eggplants are nightshade related to tomatoes, sweet peppers, and potatoes. While normally eaten like cooked vegetable eggplants are botanically a fruit. They grow on vines, are pear-shaped, and known to be somewhat bitter and spongy in texture. They are commonly a deep purple, but can also be found in green and white varieties.

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE


Choose firm eggplant, heavy for their size. No matter the variety you chose, the skins should be smooth, shiny, and vivid in color, and they should have a bright green stem. Avoid those with discoloration or bruising as this can indicate decaying flesh under the skin. To test for ripeness, gently press on the skin with your thumb to see if it springs back. Eggplants are quite perishable. Do not cut it before storing, but rather, place uncut and unwashed eggplant on plastic bags in your fridge crisper. Expect it to last for just a few days, getting bitterer the more it ages.


A LITTLE HERE, A LITTLE THERE

  • Slice it thin and use it in place of noodles for a gluten-free or low-carb lasagna.

  • Saute with onions and peppers and combine with couscous, chickpeas, and a vinaigrette for a quick Mediterranean salad.

  • Grill or broil slices and top with diced tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.

  • Cutting it into thick slabs, use it for chicken in chicken Parmesan for a meatless option

HOW TO PREPARE AND COOK


Wash the eggplant before cutting it, preferably, with a stainless steel knife (using carbon steel could react with the eggplant, causing it to turn black). While the skins are edible, those in larger size can have tougher skins, so removing them may be preferred. The flesh should be a creamy white color; remove any browned area and its seeds. To help with the bitterness, cut eggplant as desired and sprinkle it with salt. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse it well. Eggplant can be left whole or cut up to be baked, roasted, or steamed and is commonly paired with onions and tomatoes. They are spongy and soak up a lot of liquid as they cook, so use smaller amounts of oil if possible.


WHAT DO YOU GET FROM IT?


Eggplant is naturally low in calories while being high in fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin K. it is related to improving digestive health, blood circulation, and diabetes control.


EGGPLANT SANDWICHES

  • 1 small eggplant

  • 1 tsp oil

  • 2 french rolls

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tomato, sliced

  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Slice eggplant into at least 1/2" slices. Sprinkle both sides with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant and pat dry very well. Lightly brush with oil and grill until crispy but tender.


Split French rolls lengthwise, and toast. In a cup or small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and garlic and spread on toasted bread. Fill the rolls with eggplant slices, tomato, feta cheese, and basil.


Recipe Credits: allrecipes.com

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