We’re in the heart of summer and eggplants are appearing at the Stand. This fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) does beautifully on the grill. Willowsford’s Culinary Director, Bonnie Moore likes to slice it lengthwise so the pieces don’t fall through the grill rack when she’s cooking. As to the perennial debate over whether to salt it first, when the eggplant is super fresh, no salting is required. Salting large eggplant that have been stored for a while and draining them in a colander helps to remove the bitterness.
AT THE STAND
Look for eggplants that are smooth, firm and glossy-looking with a fresh, green cap at the stem. Choose eggplant that feel heavy for their size, which means they’ll have fewer seeds. Smaller is usually better. Avoid fruit that have any blemishes or soft spots. The Japanese and Chinese varieties tend to be sweeter.
HOW TO STORE
Eggplants tastes bitter with time, so it’s best to cook it as soon as you can. Store it in a paper bag in the vegetable section of your refrigerator. The skins are edible and nutritious, but you can peel them if you prefer.
Eggplants add depth and texture to classic summer dishes like ratatouille and moussaka. It also plays a key role in Middle Eastern cuisine – think baba ghanoush, a delectable spread. Grilled eggplant is sublime paired with cheese or tomatoes or both. Grilling a half-inch slice takes about two minutes.
TASTES GOOD WITH
· Coconut Milk
· Goat Cheese
· Olive oil