Eggplant ... Aubergine as referenced by The Adelaide magazine

At the market: Black beauties
last of the season still available next to the blooming brassica flowers of the next winter season 

I saw the last of the summer seasons eggplant @ The Adelaide Show Ground Farmers Market today and thought you may all like to enjoy the flavours of eggplant while they last. 

Eggplant / Aubergine

Eggplant is prolific in March: An ancient fruit, originally wild and bitter from India before the 5th Century. Typically associated with Italian cooking where it arrived in the 14th Century. A member of the nightshade family, this dark spongy orb delivers loads of fibre, potassium, and manganese and along with important phytnutrients earning its reputation as a brain food.

Found in many shapes and sizes from long thin to fat and round giant pears. In a variety of shades from green to white speckled to orange, most well known for their glossy deep black purple skin.

Choose firm fruit when shopping, with clear skin. Store in the Fridge. Flesh discolours quickly once cut so only cut with a stainless steal knife when just about to cook. Place in salt or acidulated water if not cooking straight away. It has been a  tradition to salt eggplant before cooking to draw out bitterness, but the new varieties do not require it. I was told once “salting eggplant is for whips.”

Eggplants mild nutty taste and creamy texture is a vehicle for other flavours.  A great substantial Vegan main corse. Fantastic for curry, elegant Asian, garlicky Mediterranean and minty fragrant Arabic inspired dishes. Highly adaptable to all cooking methods it can be roasted, steamed fried, sautéed, marinated, etc.

Try it with all that’s in season this Indian summer. Bottle the season’s excess in the form of a spicy piquant relish or sweet & sour with tomatoes and wine vinegar.

Simple Eggplant dip.
An entertainer or elegant accompaniment:
Toss 2 Large  whole large eggplants, a splash of olive oil into a backing tray, bake till soft. Cut lengthwise, scoop out flesh, chop it roughly with salt and pepper, a clove of fresh chopped garlic, add a big blob of creamy organic yoghurt and chopped coriander. Great as dip with summer fennel, crisped flat bread, or serve with pink lamb as a mousy counterpart.

Eggplant w goats curd cream, basil, mint & cumin
Vego main course with dressed grains:
Cut Lebanese finger eggplants in half, toss in bowl with olive oil, basil sprigs, salt and pepper, bake in a moderate oven till tender - or grill on a cast iron grill plate. Mix fresh goats curd with 1/3 cream till combined. Pile spoons of creamy curd onto a platter of eggplant, scatter with loads of fresh mint and basil leaves and thin slices of lemon. Finish with a light grind of fresh toasted cumin.

Eggplant bake w rustic crumbs & capper berries.
This dish is a crowd pleaser:
Cut eggplant into rounds 1 ½ cm thick, paint with olive oil and cook them in a heavy bottom pan with as little oil as possible, (they will absorb as much as you give them.) Layer eggplant slices in a baking dish with thick slices of tomato, sauté onions and garlic, salt pepper and a scatter of fresh oregano. Finish with rough sourdough bread crumbs tossed in seasoned oil and herbs. Cook in moderate oven till crumbs are golden brown. Finish with a handful of capper berries and fresh herbs.

Indian summer salad to go or stay.
Salad or picnic:
Take your roast wedges or baked slices of eggplant, and simply toss them with plenty of rough chopped tomatoes, slices of radish, pipped local black olive, lemon zest, Italian parsley, ripped basil and mint leaves, lemon juice, dash of red wine vinegar, salt , pepper and extra virgin olive oil.  Taste then finish with a dramatic flourish of black nigella seeds.
Serve in barmy weather with any BBQ or roll in fresh ancient grain flat bread and take it anywhere.


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