The Foodie


What’s Fresh in Early September: Eggplant

September 05, 2009
by Erin Harris
Keep your meals fresh and your heart healthy by incorporating eggplant into your diet. Eggplant is at peak ripeness right now, so fill your fridge before pumpkins and gourds take over the market stands.


Awkwardly shaped, curvy eggplant can be a wonderful treat if prepared correctly. Choose ones with deep, glossy skin; sprinkle with salt before cooking to prevent the absorption of too much oil. Eggplant comes in a range of hues, from shades of ivory to the deep purple of Japanese or globe eggplant. Christina Nunez of NPR says that most varieties share the same flavor regardless of color, but notes that the more seeds an eggplant contains, the more bitter its taste.

Keep the skin on your eggplant when tossing it into ratatouille or breading it for parmigian. The outer layer is rich in terpenes, compounds that may help lower cholesterol. Australian newspaper The Age applauds the health benefits of eggplant. The vegetable (well, actually, it’s a fruit) contains high levels of chlorogenic acid, which research suggests “has anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties.”
Eggplant caponata is an Italian concoction so versatile it can be used as a sauce, dip or sandwich filling. Like ratatouille, the longer it’s allowed to simmer over low heat, the more completely the flavors blend together. In this Caponata Sandwich recipe, eggplant is cooked with mushrooms, green pepper, onion and a medley of herbs and spices. The Kitchn spreads a generous amount of the mixture onto crusty ciabatta bread and layers on slices of fresh, sweet buffalo mozzarella.  Eggplant plays a role in many other Italian recipes.

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