A few weeks ago, a coworker stopped by my desk and asked, "Could you use any eggplants in the Test Kitchen?"
She had plenty in her garden and didn't want them to go to waste.
Of course, I'd take them. Rarely do I pass up extra ingredients. I had no problem finding something to make with the globe beauties.
When cooked just right, eggplant has a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth hearty flavor.
I've roasted eggplant to make baba ghanoush, a Middle Eastern spread; grilled slices to place on top of pizzas or serve as a layer for a veggie sandwich; and cut slits in the flesh to stuff it with a mix of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh parsley and seasonings.
Eggplant is a fruit, although it's thought of and treated like a vegetable. It's a member of the nightshade family — like tomatoes and potatoes. I think eggplant goes unnoticed a lot because people don't know how to cook it.
With my new stash of eggplant, I opted to try a different take on the traditional eggplant Parmesan.
The basic eggplant Parmesan recipe calls for frying the slices. That, of course, adds fat and calories. But the real issue is that eggplant is like a sponge and absorbs oil quickly. Often you can end up with an oily mess. So many recipes suggest salting the eggplant — and weighting it — before frying. Doing so removes bitterness and rids it of excess moisture so it doesn't absorb much oil when you fry it.
It's not necessary to peel eggplant because the skin holds it together during cooking.