Stumped.

Before last Thursday around 7pm, I’d never cooked an eggplant.  Never.  Somehow, I’ve consistently “ducked and dived” the bulbous purple vegetable all my life.  Bare truth is I’ve got nothing against ’em; I just don’t know how to use ’em.

Which typically doesn’t stop me, considering lately I’ve been eating something called a Dinosaur Gourd, and liking it, before learning it’s mostly used as decorations around Thanksgiving.  But, something about people always saying you need to salt eggplant to bring out the bitterness screeched me to a stop.  This rule somehow made it seem like you have to know what you’re doing to do it right. 

However with a little further analysis, I don’t believe that unquestioning logic.  If we all followed rules as unexamined truths, life would be super boring.  I mean, they’ve just discovered that there might be particles faster than the speed of light, which would demolish Einstein’s theory of special relativity.  That’s huge.  And, I don’t even understand it that much.

Eggplant Harvest

Now, I’m not saying that salt won’t make eggplant taste better.  Probably does.  I’m just saying that I’m no longer going to fear or avoid eggplant because of it.  And, it’s a good thing because Apricot Lane Farms has about 15 plants that are practically throwing them at us, with no signs of slowing.  Bringing me to the point of the blog… What the heck do YOU do with eggplant?  If you’d be so kind, I would love to hear.

I know that I’ve been wanting to try the Open-Faced Eggplant Sandwich by Deliciously Organic, and I used it in a marinara sauce on Thursday night with relative success.  But, what else?  I’d love to hear any pointers you might have because me and eggplant… we’re gonna spend some long-overdue time getting to know one another.

xo –

Organic Spark

Disclosure: I wrote this post while participating in the Sowing Millions Project by Real Food Media on behalf of Seeds of Change. I received product and exclusive content to facilitate my post. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own and not of those of Real Food Media or Seeds of Change.

19 comments


  • Leah

    I was a bit stumped by eggplant too and had been making it the only way I knew how. Cube it up, mix it with some salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and roast it. Or do the same with thin slices of it. It’s good. But by far the best way I’ve had eggplant was recently, when a friend brought some to me at work and said “you’ve got to try this!” Thinly sliced rounds of eggplant with olive oil drizzled over, topped with sundried tomato and shredded mozzarella. Broil the slices first so they get soft, then add the tomato and cheese till it gets nice and melty. I swear it tastes like a mini eggplant pizza, and its to die for.

    September 24, 2011
  • My husband and I love this Spicy Eggplant recipe…it could be used as a side dish, but we usually just serve it over brown rice and make a meal out of it.
    http://healthyeasyrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/01/spicy-eggplant.html

    September 24, 2011
  • Kyle Renalds

    For the longest time the only way I ever used eggplant was to stuff it. Good quality ground beef, onions, garlic, mozzarella, whatever other vegetables you’d like really. Cook that up on a skillet with the eggplant meat you’ve dug out once you cut them in half, stuff them when the beef is just about done, top with the cheese and bake for about 40 minutes at 300 degrees. Tasty every time.

    Kyle

    September 24, 2011
  • Allison

    I was always raised that the only way to eat it is to slice it, bread it, deep fry it, and drown it in marinara and mozzarella, but I don’t eat that way at all anymore! I like to cut it in half the long way, drizzle a little oil, and broil it until soft enough to scoop with a spoon, and blend it– sometimes with chickpeas, sometimes without– into something like a baba ganoush. Alternately, shorten the cook time and dress in balsamic and basil, and sure, add tomatoes if you’d like, or skip the Italian vibe and go for a ginger-soy treatment. Eggplant is pretty versatile, and you can serve it instead of meat and still get a hearty meal. Even your most carnivorous friends will be satisfied, They won’t even realize what’s “missing.”

    September 24, 2011
  • Evelyn

    My favorite way to eat eggplant: chop into 1/2 inch or so squares. Heat olive oil on a skillet. Add a couple minced garlic cloves and some fresh grated ginger to the pan briefly. Add eggplant and saute until soft. Add more olive oil if necessary. Season with ground cumin, sea salt, lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley to taste. Serve with pita bread as part of a mediterranean spread with hummus and chopped salad or on top of basmati rice, or as a side to grilled meat. Also good the next day served cold.

    September 24, 2011
  • Trish

    Try babaganoush. Yummy! Egg plant spread. Think hummus but with roasted egg plant and basil.

    September 24, 2011
  • Susie

    Favorite Eggplant Uses:

    1. Stuffed.
    2. Caponata/Ratouille
    3. Baba ganoush
    4. Eggplant Rollatini (sliced long instead of round, breaded and fried, layeredwith cheese and roasted red peppers, rolled, baked, and topped with tomato sauce and cheese. YUM.
    5. Cubed, added to ground beef and tomatoes, Indian spices (curried) and simmered.

    I love eggplant!
    Susie

    September 25, 2011
  • Julie Smith

    I enjoy this one….

    Eggplant, Lamb & Rice Casserole
    Ingredients
    2 eggplants, (2 pounds total), cut in half lengthwise
    8 ounces ground lamb
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 onions, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 14-ounce can tomatoes, undrained
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 cup white rice
    1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
    Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably imported (2 ounces)
    Preheat oven to 450°F. Place eggplant halves, cut-side down, in a roasting pan. Add water to a depth of 1/2 inch. Bake until tender, 20 to 25 minutes; set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
    While the eggplant is roasting, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground lamb and sauté, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain off fat. Set aside.
    Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add red peppers and garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, oregano, thyme, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened slightly, 3 to 5 minutes.
    4Scoop out eggplant flesh and chop coarsely. Stir rice, broth, chopped eggplant and the reserved lamb into the tomato mixture; bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with feta and serve.

    September 25, 2011
  • Eggplants are so versatile. Here are some easy recipes:
    1. Take the whole eggplant and put it on hot coals/charcoal or broil it. Even better, make a few cuts on it, stuff minced garlic or garlic powder in the cuts and then broil it. The skin turns brittle and cracks open. Scoop up the soft insides, throw in some chopped onions, some garlic, some cilantro, a little salt, some chopped green hot peppers (if you like them) and olive oil or mustard oil (available in Indian stores) – yummy.
    2. Slice into 1/2″ slices, sprinkle a little salt, a pinch of sugar (this doesn’t make it sweet, but makes it soft) and a little turmeric. Toss to coat the slices and keep for about 20 mins. You can see some water coming out by that time. Shallow pan-fry till done and keep aside. Take a little oil in the pan and when hot, throw in a mustard seeds. They will sputter and you may have to cover it. Throw in some slice onions too and a little garlic. In a bowl, take plain yogurt, mix some salt and pepper and then put it all in the pan. Turn off the heat – you do not need to cook the yogurt. Put the pan-fried eggplants in the yogurt and enjoy.

    Eggplants also go well with daikon (white radish). Celery seeds make a good seasoning.

    Well, for more, just look up Indian recipe sites and enjoy!

    September 26, 2011
  • Eggplant can be a little challenging – 3 ways I like it:

    1..Baba ganoush

    2. Eggplant fritters – works best with small eggplant. Blot really, really well w/paper towels. Dust in rice flour or cornstarch, dip in egg was and then dip in panko and panfry. Serve with spicy tomato chutney and plain yogurt.

    3. Eggplant fries. Cut into 1/2 inch logs. Soak in ice water about 15 minutes and then dry really well. Dust with rice flour or cornstarch and deep fry -yum!! The ice water keeps the eggplant from soaking up oil!!

    September 26, 2011
  • I never cook eggplant but I love all of these comments :)

    September 27, 2011
  • Mom

    Well, my goodness, that little purple thing squeezed out the cooking charm of your readers, didn’t it? Well done folks! I’m most likely one of the reasons Molls never had a love affair with eggplant. Never used it. Needless to say this delightful myriad of choices might coax me on to try the color purple.

    September 28, 2011
  • Yay! I’m glad you’re embracing the eggplant. I love it myself and it’s often overlooked.

    September 29, 2011
  • Molly – we’ve been getting Eggplant like crazy in our Massachusetts farm share. Sometimes I look at them piling up in the fridge and realize I have to do something very quick before they spoil. Here’s my go-to:

    rub the eggplant with a little olive oil,
    stab it a few times all over,
    stick it in the oven @ 400
    keep an eye on it, and wait for it to be begin “deflating”
    (….maybe 30 minutes? really depends on the size of your plant)

    once cooked through,
    skin it, and toss it in a blender with a heavy drizzle of olive oil, 1-2 cloves of garlic, sea salt & pepper. It’s very quick dip for seeded crackers, endive leaves or toasted baguette. hope you like it :)

    September 29, 2011
    • I forgot!….lemon juice too. To taste. I’m overzealous with lemon so I hesitate to give you a measurement.

      September 29, 2011
  • Lynn D

    SOmeone told me they liked them as eggplant parmigain as they absorb flavor.

    I tried some for the dish from the animated movie out years ago. made with sliced squash and vegies by the main rat character. Have trouble still with nightshades ,joint pain,(tomato,eggplant…) so avoid for now.
    Have fun!

    October 1, 2011
  • Diana

    I too avoided eggplant my whole life until last year when I planted it. If you plant it, you have to eat it. That’s my knew philosophy in the garden. With only 2 plants, I had more than I bargained for. So I chopped them up into cube sized pieces, blanched some but not all and froze the whole lot on a cookie sheet. Later I zip locked them and tossed them back in the freezer. During the winter, I made a lot of soup and pasta sauce. I’d throw a hand full of eggplant in every batch. It worked out great. I do the same with my extra tomatoes and zucchini.

    October 15, 2011
  • Viola

    I make eggplant sformato: roast and puree eggplant and dry farmed early girl tomatoes, mix with fresh ricotta, 1-2 eggs, and chopped basil, spread into a buttered pan, top with freshly grated parmesan and bake until set.

    January 23, 2012

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