Eggplant is likely the most dangerous vegetable of all we offer. Its spiky stem is a hazard, particularly when thrown by disappointed eaters at their cook. It is high in fiber, which is a danger in its own way. It contains solanine, a toxin also found in potatoes that requires cooking or other preparation. But for those brave enough to enter the world of eggplant, we offer three varieties: Purple hot dog-shaped “Orient Express,” ghostly white “Casper,” and the pink/white monstrosity known as “Rosa Bianca.” They are all interchangeable in recipes.
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, closely related to potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco. Once the leaves of the potato plant have died down, the numerous Colorado Potato Beetles move in masse over to the Eggplant to continue gorging themselves. We try to please everyone.
- Eggplant may be peeled, but this is not necessary.
- To bake: Prick all over the skin with a fork and bake at 400° until the flesh is tender—about 30-40 minutes. Baked eggplant can be pureed.
- To stuff: Bake 20 minutes, scoop out seeds, replace with stuffing, and return to oven for 15 minutes.
- To saute: Saute in hot oil until light brown, preferably with herbs, garlic, cheese, etc. It may also be sliced and then dunked in flour, eggs, or bread crumbs before sauteeing.
- To steam: Steam over one inch of water for 15-30 minutes. On a humid day, this is a great way to add even more moisture to the air!
- To grill: Slice into thin strips and grill with other veggies (summer squash, peppers, etc.) and skewer it for a shish kabob.
- Fresh is best. Eggplant are offensively picky about their storage—not too cold or too hot. We’ve had mixed success with keeping it in the fridge, although it’s recommended in the hydrator drawer for up to a week. The skin gets wrinkled and squishy. Room temperature is even worse, but a cool basement seems the best bet. But you should probably just bite the bullet and use it as quickly as possible.
To freeze it for long-term use, try making it into a dish like ratatouille or bab ghanouj and keeping it in an airtight container.
From August 21, 2009 Fox & Fawn Farm Newsletter