Eggplant Season!

Fact: I love eggplants like a whole crazy lot.  In fact I ate eggplants for dinner last night and my fiends Holly and Daniel, who were eating with me, said that they didn’t think they knew anybody else who eats as much eggplant as I do.  This may be true as I usually, in the very least, eat eggplant once a week, if not more.  I love going to the Greenville Saturday Market downtown because I can usually find a whole bunch of reasonably priced aubergines (and not just the common deep purple variety but a whole ton of different colors and variations).

Yesterday, Serious Eats (a really wonderful food blog) posted a piece on eggplant season and a number of delightful recipe links.  I am kind of wishing I had found this last night because then I might have been tempted to try some of them out (not that what I end up making was bad – it was really really good actually – but something new is always fun).  I guess I will just have to intend on cooking some more eggplant this week.

Here is the weird thing though (and I may have written about this several times before already), up until about three or three and a half years ago I was completely convinced that I did not like eggplants.  I am not sure why I believed this, though I assume I had had some less than satisfactory encounter with the vegetable in my distant youth and had thus decided to write off the aubergine entirely.  Then, either my junior or senior year of college (can’t remember which), a friend invited me several others over to have eggplant Parmesan.  While I was still uncertain of the purple vegetable I wanted to be a good guest and so I graciously ate what was offered.  What a surprise, I loved it!  Since then I have been a bit of an eggplant junky.

My two favorite things to make with eggplants are the following (not as any real recipes really):

  1. Chopped eggplant in about half-inch cubes stir fried with onion, garlic, shrimp (one of my other all-time favorite food stuffs – already had shrimp twice this week) and maybe a few other vegetables like tomatoes or peppers.  I season all this simply with curry powder, salt, black/white pepper and sometimes a bit of chili powder.  To keep all  moist I either do a steady deglazing with beer/vodka or I create a creamy curry sauce using sour cream or plain yogurt.  I will serve this with rice or some kind of grainy salad (like tebbouleh or chick-pea salad). My dinner last night was a variation of this general meal just with a vinegar-vodka sauce and a bit of dill.
  2. Stir fried or grilled (grilled is great especially marinated) with zucchinis, onions and occasionaly peppers.  Flavored with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic. Finally, served on a roll or grainy bread with melted mozzarella cheese.

And there are really a ton of other ways to cook it.  Part of what I love is that eggplant’s spongy flesh is great at absorbing flavors.  This can be a cautionary thing because if you are not careful you can end up with a real intensity of flavor, but with a little practice and care you can leverage this aubergine attribute to be a tasty supplement to meat.  I also advise caution on how much heat you give the eggplant while cooking (and I’ll be honest I occasionally eat raw slices of eggplant).  Some people might not like the tough skin (I love it) which requires more cooking to breakdown.  In that case I would advise peeling as the amount of time to cook it to make the skin easier to eat will in turn make the flesh little more than a flavorful mush (if that is what you are aiming for then great, otherwise your texture might be a little fucked up).

Okay, I have to stop thinking about eggplants because this is making me really hungry.  Furtunately I brought leftovers from last night.  Oh wondrous aubergine I love thee so!

A whole bunch of lovely delicious aubergines

A whole bunch of lovely delicious aubergines

~ by Nathaniel on September 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Eggplant Season!”

  1. I just noticed a typo I made above in calling Daniel and Holly “my fiends” when I intended “my friends.” I was tempted to fix this but now that I read it again, I feel that I like referring to the two of them as “my fiends” albeit not in the negative conotation of fiendishness and such, just in the sense that I think we (that is humans, inclusively) are all a bit fiendish from time to time.

    Dan and Holly are soon to be my new roommates by the way. They are good people You (that is humans, inclusively, again) would like them.

  2. […] Stuffed Eggplants I love eggplant (I’ve mentioned this before) and so I have been very excited to have fresh ones coming in ripe in our garden.  Earlier this […]

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