Monday, November 12, 2007


At the grocery store today the kids eagerly kept an eye out for something exotic to buy. Eggplant won.

I've always loved the color of eggplant - dark purple almost black, but I've been afraid to try it.

I was very apprehensive about trying the eggplant, the kids were excited. I searched the internet to find out how to prepare it...found out some interesting things - such as the eggplant is part of the nightshade family (which includes potatoes and tomatoes), and is actually a fruit not a vegetable.

I also read that the eggplant is generally bitter and you can remove some of the bitterness by salting the eggplant and letting it sit for about 1/2 hour, and then rinsing it.

I wanted to find a way to prepare the eggplant that would allow the true flavor and consistency to show. There were tons of recipes but mostly included breading and deep fat frying or mixing it into a casserole type dish.

I finally found a simple recipe: salt the eggplant, then slice it up, and mix into a combination of lemon juice and oil. Then sprinkle on salt/pepper and any other spices you like. I chose Italian Seasoning. Then bake for 10 min in the oven at 400 degrees.

I was really put off by the texture of the eggplant. The skin is thin enough that you can leave it on - and it kind of has a soft, rubbery texture. The inside feels spongy.

I prepared the dish, not feeling very excited about tasting it. I never let on ahead of time to the kids how negative I felt about the whole thing.

I found the eggplant to be pretty tasteless, except for the flavors of lemon and Italian Seasoning that I added. I didn't notice any bitterness so seems like the salting trick worked. The texture reminded me of a pan fried zucchini, but more spongy.

The girl ate a couple of little slices and didn't like it. I think the seasoning was a bad choice and overpowering. The boy didn't seem to really like it, yet awhile later at supper time he asked if he could have some more, and was disappointed when I told him I "disposed" of it.

I'm not really disappointed when we find a food we don't care for. This is all about experimenting with new tastes and introducing the kids to things we normally would not buy.

My only experience with eggplant was in 8th grade cooking class - all I remember was that I didn't like it. Never tasted it again until today. And I don't plan on eating it in the future.

For some strange reason, I think it's cool that it's part of the nightshade family.


Anonymous said...

I think eggplant is an acquired taste. I've made it a few times tried frying it, baking it, and hiding it in a casserole. No matter how I cooked it, it always retained that same spongy kind of mushy texture. However, once I got past the texture and continued to eat it, (eggplant is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, and is very good for you,) I began to actually like it. Now I have made eggplant a regular part of my diet.