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- Eggplants are native to southeast Asia and are produced in a variety of shapes and colors – the most familiar to Westerners is the oblong ‘aubergine’ colored fruit, or the long, tapered ‘Chinese’ or ‘Japanese’ varieties. The Turks have a special love for it, and a bride is said to be unfit for marriage until she knows at least 2 dozen recipes.Eggplant is on of the tastiest and versatile vegetables, but many people underappreciate it. It’s used in European, Middle Eastern , Chinese and Indian cuisines
Prepare the eggplant for frying or grilling
- Cut into rounds or long strips: 1/2″ thick if frying, or 1″ if grilling. Some people find eggplants are bitter. If so, use this next step: place paper towel on a plate, sprinkle lightly with salt, add a layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with salt, then add more eggplant. Top with another layer of paper towels. Let this sit for about 2 hours, during which time the salt will extract much of the water in the eggplant. Then pat dry with additional paper towels and proceed to the next step. (Remember that paper towels compost easily!)
- To fry eggplant, heat 1 T of oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat, then fry the slices for about 2′ each side until nicely browned. Fry the next batch without adding any more oil. This method of dry frying uses almost no oil, and is best for recipes where the eggplant is later layered with moist ingredients. Alternatively, use about 1 T more oil for each batch of slices to produce a richer result.
- Or grill or roast the entire eggplant until its skin is almost charcoal for a unique smoky taste. The result is excellent for baba ganoush and other recipes calling for mashed eggplant. Usually the skin is discarded. Prick the eggplant with a fork several times before cooking, or you’ll discover how to turn an eggplant inside out! I’ve tested, savored and experimented with eggplants for years, discovering recipes in travels to China, India, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Here are some of my favorites:
- Eggplant with red pepper in bean sauce
- Eggplant with Mushrooms & Onions
- Zucchini — Eggplant Casserole
- How to cook vegetables on an outdoor grill
- Eggplant with YuXiang sauce
- Melanzane arrostiti
Simple eggplant Appetizer
This first recipe is simple, yet elegant and makes an eggplant starter or side dish:
•1 eggplant sliced into 1/2″ slices
•3 cloves of garlic
•3 T chopped parsley
•1 T lemon juice
•1 T olive oil
Fry the eggplant slices and arrange on a plate.
Combine the other ingredients in a food processor [or chop extremely fine], then drizzle on top of eggplant slices. Can be served warm or cold.
IMAM BAYILDI (The Imam Fainted)
•2 medium onions, chopped fine
•3-5 garlic cloves, chopped
•3 medium tomatoes, chopped
•3 tablespoons chopped parsley
•Salt and pepper to taste
•2 medium eggplants
•2 teaspoons sugar
•3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
This is one of the most famous Turkish recipes and varies everywhere – it’s always one of my favorites to order in the smaller Turkish Bufes.
Cut eggplants in half, and hollow out the centers, leaving a shell of about 3/4 – 1″.
Chop the extracted eggplant. In a cast iron skillet, heat 3 T olive oil over high heat. Add the onions and reduce to medium heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes, chopped eggplant, salt, and pepper.
Cook for 5′, stirring occasionally, then reduce to low heat and simmer for additional 15′. Toss in the chopped parsley.
Stuff each eggplant half and arrange in a baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup oil.
Bake, covered, in pre-heated moderate oven (350 F.) for about 40 minutes, or until tender.
Imam biyaldi can be serve hot, or cold with yogurt. Makes 4 to 6 servings depending on the size of the Imam’s appetite.
More eggplant recipes:
|194||Baked Eggplant||EGGPLANT + ONIONS + RED PEPPER + PINE NUTS + PARSLEY|
|49||Chicken-Eggplant Stew||TOMATO SAUCE + GARLIC +
CINNAMON + OREGANO + PARSLEY + THYME
|47||Dry-fry Eggplant Parmigiana||EGGPLANT + OREGANO||Italian|
|148||Eggplant Canelloni||EGGPLANT + POLENTA + CAPERS + GORGONZOLA + NONE||Italian|
|192||Eggplant Lamb Casserole||EGGPLANT + + LAMB||Mideastern|
|173||Eggplant Lasagna||EGGPLANT + FETA + YOGURT + PORK||Mideastern|
|25||Eggplant Lentil Soup||CARROTS + EGGPLANT + LENTIL + GARLIC + PARSLEY + PAPRIKA||Mideastern|
|4||Fettucine w Eggplant & Sausage||EGGPLANT + OREGANO + PORK||Italian|
|191||Lamb Eggplant Stew||EGGPLANT + POTATO + SAFFRON + LAMB|
|87||Moussaka Stew||EGGPLANT + TOMATO + OREGANO + YOGURT + LAMB||Mideastern|
|157||Ratatouille Nicoise||EGGPLANT + CELERY + GARLIC||Italian|
|174||Twice Cooked Eggplant||EGGPLANT + CARROT + CUMIN||Mideastern|