Not the best of photos, I know but this beauty was growing in the garden only five minutes ago. Aren’t I clever? Well someone has to honk my horn!
I think they have to be one of the most beautiful looking fruits there is with their dark purple, glossy skin. Most people think of eggplant as a vegetable but it is actually a fruit. Like the tomato it is part of the nightshade family. There is an old joke that says: Knowledge is knowing that eggplant is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to use it in a fruit salad.
My favourite way to prepare them is to slice it into 1/4″ thick slices and grill on the BBQ or grill pan using only a little oil. Make sure they are well cooked (raw eggplant is not nice). Once done remove and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle liberally with chopped flat leaf parsley. We have this dish with a salad or on it’s own as part of a ploughman’s platter. The slices are delicious spread with hummus and rolled.
Another way we like them is to cut the into chunks and fry in a wok then drizzle with a homemade chilli sauce.
You will often see recipes that tell you to sprinkle the slices with salt then rinse after fifteen minutes or so. This is to remove bitterness and to reduce the amount of oil they absorb. The modern cultivars of today are not bitter once cooked so I haven’t found salting the eggplant first to be necessary. The fruit is capable of absorbing large amounts of oil and flavours making eggplant great for long slow cooking. I use very little fat when cooking and add what I need once cooked.
They are very easy to grow here in the sub-tropics, I plant from seedlings towards the end of the hot season. The plants will need to be staked as they grow. The seedlings are great value as the mature plant will fruit for ages.
Molly and Lulu are not as keen on eating them as Pete and myself but if I hide the eggplant in a slow cooked stew they are none the wiser. Ah, the ignorance of youth…