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10 Reasons to Not Hate Eggplant

We’re deep into summer, and there is a chance, we know, that you might be getting sick of eggplant. This week’s post is a quick homage to eggplant in an effort to help you not hate the stuff.




Need a nudge to love the aubergine? Here are a few ways to think about this unique summer nightshade:


1. Variety


Step into our fields, and it's like stepping into a rainbow dream of eggplants. You never knew there were so many shades of purple until you've seen a bin of Italian and Asian eggplant. Thick and meaty to slender and tender... like tomatoes, there is really a lot of nuance in eggplant variety - a culinary experience especially made for CSA members.


2. Freshness FTW


When it comes to eggplants, fresher is better. Grab 'em from local farmers (like yours truly) or even grow your own if you're feeling adventurous. Shorter travel time from farm to plate means you're chowing down on the tastiest eggplant goodness. You should really try and enjoy your eggplant within about 3 days of it arriving in your kitchen for the very best taste and texture. Eggplant doesn’t store very well and is very prone to storage damage (more on that here). it’s easier to love eggplant when you’re eating it at its prime.



3. Texture Trip


We get it, eggplant texture can be a little wild sometimes. But don't trip – there's an easy way to handle it. The young, small eggplant you get in our shares is ready to roll. If you get a giant Italian eggplant, you can always salad and drain them before cooking to remove some of the potential bitterness. Roast, grill, or sauté them, and you'll score a rad combo of crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. It's like a texture party in your mouth!



4. Flavor Fusion


Guess what? Eggplants are flavor sponges – they soak up all the goodness you cook 'em with. Experiment with flavors and spices. Garlic, basil, oregano, for an Italian direction or chili paste, soy, and five spice for a Chinese angle. The choice is yours. With all the eggplant varieties I grow, I've learned that each one brings its own flavor game. Rosa Bianca loves jamming with balsamic glaze, while Japanese eggplants are all about that miso umami.


5. Mix and Match Magic


Eggplants are the ultimate team players. Throw 'em into a crew with other ingredients, and you've got yourself a taste explosion. Imagine grilled eggplant's smoky vibes vibing with tomatoes' zing and goat cheese's creamy coolness. Or go Mediterranean and let eggplant groove with olives, feta, and some fresh herbs. The world of eggplant possibilities is yours to explore – unleash your creativity! And if you need some direction, keep reading for 10 places to start.



TEN WAYS TO USE EGGPLANT:

Eggplant Parmesan:

A classic favorite, eggplant Parmesan involves layering slices of eggplant with marinara sauce and cheese, then baking until bubbly and golden. It's a hearty and satisfying dish that brings out the eggplant's rich flavors. STARTER RECIPE


Baba Ganoush:

This Middle Eastern dip is made by roasting eggplant until charred, then blending it with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. Serve it with pita bread or veggies for a flavorful and creamy appetizer. STARTER RECIPE


Stuffed Eggplant:

Hollowed-out eggplant halves make the perfect vessel for a variety of fillings, such as a mixture of sautéed veggies, grains, and cheese. Bake until the eggplant is tender and the filling is golden. We love the Lebanese version of stuffed eggplant, sheikh el mahshi. STARTER RECIPE


Grilled Eggplant Sandwich:

Slice eggplant into thick rounds, brush with olive oil, and grill until tender and slightly charred. Use the grilled eggplant slices to make a delicious sandwich with layers of cheese, roasted red peppers, and your favorite condiments. STARTER RECIPE


Eggplant Fries:

Cut eggplant into thin strips, coat them with breadcrumbs or panko, and bake or fry until crispy. Serve with a dipping sauce like marinara, aioli, or yogurt-based dip. Just try and hate eggplant when it’s fresh out of the fryer, I dare you. STARTER RECIPE


South Indian Eggplant Curry:

Add diced eggplant to your favorite curry recipe for a hearty and flavorful addition. Eggplant's ability to absorb spices makes it a fantastic companion in various curry dishes from around the world. STARTER RECIPE


Moussaka:

Moussaka is a classic Greek eggplant casserole that combines oven-baked or pan-fried eggplants (aubergines) and potatoes, a flavorful beef or lamb mince sauce with a tomato base, all crowned by a lusciously creamy bechamel sauce. In a nutshell, it's the epitome of comfort cuisine. STARTER RECIPE


Szechuan Eggplant:

Szechuan Eggplant, also known as Sichuan eggplant, showcases eggplant prepared in the mouthwatering style of the Szechuan province in China, complete with a delectable Szechuan sauce. This easy Szechuan Eggplant recipe is a perfect speedy accompaniment for vegetable fried rice or noodles. STARTER RECIPE.


Eggplant Lasagna:

Replace traditional lasagna noodles with thinly sliced eggplant layers for a lower-carb and gluten-free version of this beloved dish. Alternate eggplant slices with cheese and your favorite sauce. STARTER RECIPE


Eggplant Tacos:

Grill or roast eggplant slices until tender and slightly charred, then use them as a base for flavorful and veggie-packed tacos. Top with salsa, guacamole, and your choice of toppings. This version boasts fresh pico. STARTER RECIPE


Remember, these are just a few ideas to get you started on your eggplant culinary adventure. Feel free to mix and match flavors, ingredients, and techniques to create your own unique eggplant masterpieces. Whether you're a seasoned eggplant enthusiast or trying it for the first time, these creative approaches can help you discover the incredible potential of this versatile vegetable.


Happy cooking!

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