by Kai Chan
We can get eggplants year-round now though the best ones are found in the summer when the farmers have the fresh and bright shiny ones in the market. It is a very versatile vegetable that one could be bake, grill, boil, sauté or stuff. Most recipes suggest to salt the eggplant before cooking. Julia Child said that there are three reasons to salt the eggplant: to remove the bitterness, to remove the excess water and most significantly, to prevent the eggplant from absorbing too much oil or fat.
There are many recipes in preparing eggplants, most of them ask to have the skin peeled. However, I like to keep the skin on as its taste and texture compliment the smooth softness of the flesh. Here are two of my favourite recipes.
In the first one, cut the eggplant cross the globe into 1/4 inch thicknesses, salt them for about 30 minutes, then pad dry with a kitchen towel. Then fry each slice in olive oil with some chopped garlic for a minute or so until golden, and do the same to the other side. This simple dish is delicious.
The second recipe is to cut the eggplant into half inch cubes, skin included, and mix with a tablespoon or two of salt, let them sit in a coriander, with a heavy plate on top to let the juice drip into a sink, for about 30 minutes or so. Cook chopped onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the drained eggplant cubes. Let this simmer for a few minutes, add some white wine to help steaming, as well as to form a sauce. Some spices like chilli fakes, paprika or cumin may be added, plus some chopped parsley. This would make a a nice vegetable dish or as a wonderful sauce for a pasta.
The Raw and the Cooked, MYTHOLOGIQUES is a new column on the culture of eating and cooking, with contributions by various authors. The column name is borrowed from the title of a book by Claude Levi-Strauss. It is spontaneous, a little amusing but serious at the same time.