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© 2016 by Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger.  All Rights Reserved

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Eggplant

January 16, 2014

Eggplant

The eggplant, otherwise known as aubergine, is a fruit characterized by its shape and color.  It ranges in color from creamy white to deep purple to black.   Asian eggplants are round or long and thin.  They are softer than Western eggplant and the flesh is tender and slightly sweet.  It is commonly used in stir fries.  Western eggplant has a plump pear shape.  Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family.  Plants in the nightshade family are entirely poisonous except for the fruit, and only the fruit. 

         Eggplants have been cultivated in China since approximately 500 B.C.  The Arabs and Persians brought the eggplant to Africa.  In the Middle Ages, eggplant was a common food.  Today, it is cultivated mainly in China, Turkey, Japan, Egypt, and Italy.

         Eggplants have dense, khaki colored flesh, with spongy, small edible brown seeds.  The flavor is bland, but distinct, and usually absorbs other flavors.  The plant grows to approximately 3 feet high, and produces purple-blue flowers. 

The fruit ranges in length from 2 to 12 inches, and bruises easily.  The skin of the eggplant is edible, though some people prefer it to come off.  Sometimes the flesh has a very bitter flavor.  Sliced eggplant ma be salted and left to drain for 30 minutes to remove the moisture and the bitterness.  The flesh may also discolor when oxidizing. 

         Eggplant is common today in Mediterranean and East Indian cuisines.  It has an affinity for garlic, anchovies, olives, roasted peppers, basil, tomatoes, chili peppers, and lamb.  A common dish made with eggplant is ratatouille.  When purchasing an eggplant, the skin should be blemished, and un- wrinkled.  Eggplant is available all year round, with the peak season during the late summer.

 

Eggplant’s Affinities

 

aioli

anchovies

bacon

basil

béchamel sauce

bread crumbs

capers

cheese, esp. got, Gruyére, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Ricotta

chervil

cream

cumin

garlic

ham

lamb

lemon

mint

mushrooms

olive oil

olives

onions

oregano

paprika

parsley

peppers, esp. green

pesto

pignoli

rice

rosemary

salt

shallots

shrimp

soy

tarragon

thyme

tomatoes

vinegar, esp. balsamic

walnuts

yogurt

zucchini

 

 

 

 

 

                 

American Eggplant                                     Asian Eggplant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Eggplant                                         Orion Eggplant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tango Eggplant            Thai Eggplant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiger Stripped Eggplant                             White Eggplant

 

 

© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Cite me:  Denlinger, J. (2014, January 6).  Eggplant.  Retrieved from:  FloridaChef.net

 

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Enjoying a sustainable, organic, lifestyle indulging in all Florida's Cuisines throughout the seasons

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