More Ways to Hide, Err, Eat Eggplant

As I’ve said before, I love eggplant. That’s why I planted six plants in my garden. What the fuck was I thinking?

I love eggplant, but my family? Not so much. Is this a female thing? My latest bloglove, The Girls Guide to Guns and Butter has the selfsame issue. She posted a wonderful looking recipe for easy moussaka recently, which I haven’t yet tried. I’m still busy trying to hide my eggplant, and subsequently force my family to eat it.

Because even though two of the plants didn’t make it, the remaining four are an endless waterfall of purple fruit. I go to my garden once a week lately (to my surprise, I’ve found that the thick leaf mulch on my garden, combined with the well established plants means I don’t need to water. At all. I haven’t watered in months. I barely have to weed because of my initial kick ass soil preparation and again, the mulch.) All I do is pop over to harvest. Every week a heaving bag full of eggplant and red marconi peppers. Neither of which anyone but me likes to eat.

Fortunately, although cohesive pieces of eggplant are entirely disagreeable to those who don’t like it, I’m finding it is easy to hide. It has little flavor of it’s own, and melts right into other foods if you cook it long enough. Last night I made a tomato (and red pepper) sauce with some roast chicken thrown in, and a heap of leftover grilled eggplant, which completely disappeared into the sauce. Even I couldn’t tell it was there. I served the sauce over gnocchi (which sounds fancy, but is actually the world’s easiest homemade pasta and it uses up leftover potatoes!)

Several weeks ago I blended up some fresh eggplant and added it into a batch of meatballs. I used the food processor to finely chop it and thoroughly squeezed the resulting mince over a fine mesh strainer to drain off the copious amount of juice (! Who knew those dry spongey seeming things had so much water?)

it turned brown almost immediately, but for adding it to meatballs, who cares?

Then I added it to my usual meatball recipe. I used 2 full cups of it to a mere pound and a half of meat (meaning the “meat”balls were 1/3 eggplant), along with the usual egg and breadcrumbs.

No one noticed.

For myself, I made Paula Wolffert’s fabulous pate. The recipe calls it a ‘dip,’ but I remember from the book that she scooped it into a (flexible) container and chilled it, after which you can un-mold it and slice it, just like real pate. What a treat!

Eggplant’s also good for quicky mama lunches like this one.

Don’t forget that eggplant lasagna! That was a winner I I will surely make again. Also on my list (most definitely for myself) is caponata.

What are your favorite things to do with eggplant? Do you serve it front and center, or do you have to hide it too?

14 thoughts on “More Ways to Hide, Err, Eat Eggplant

  1. That ‘pate’ looks so good!

    I found chargrilling then freezing eggplant/ aubergine went well, and then so easy to pull some out & throw into bolognese, lasagna, onto pizza, erm, anything I could get away with… gave everything that smokey flavour I love so much. Kids didn’t notice, and when I told them they had eaten eggplant, they didn’t seem to perturbed!!

    1. Oh, I should have said, after chargrilling or roasting them, I remove the skin, then freeze… therefore I have the cooked, smokey & sweet fleshy part to add to dishes (or make into baba ghanoush), which obv. hides better when it has no skin!

      1. Same for me, dixibelle. I chargrill and scrape out, then add to most anything. The family doesn’t seem to notice that the hummus has been baba ghanoushified.

  2. Oh, and I am seeing why you love Sofya…

    “But what about your figure?

    To be completely honest, I don’t care in the slightest, and I suggest that you don’t either. A small bottom is a social construct and has no bearing on the actual level of personal fulfillment and reproductive success.”

    Thank you for mentioning her blog!

  3. I want the pate, yum.
    I love eggplant but no one else does (with the exception of the baby, who blissfully eats basically anything we hand to him). They don’t grow very well up here, though, so I usually get it a few times a summer (through our CSA) and that is it. So I live it up and cook things I like.
    Zucchini I have to hide, though.

  4. I found an old Chinese cookbook at a consignment store, and my favorite eggplant recipe comes from there (although I omit the msg). Basically you cut up 6 eggplants into large-ish chunks and fry it (I use the deep fryer) until it’s cooked but not browned, and drain. Then you fry a green onion, a clove of garlic, and a couple of slices of ginger (all coarsely chopped) in 3T oil to flavor the oil, then remove and discard the aromatics and stir-fry the eggplant again in this oil. Add 1T soy sauce, 1T sugar and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until the sauce is absorbed. Serve with rice of course. My husband, who also doesn’t like eggplant, will eat this.

  5. That pate does look awesome. I will have to try it.

    My favorite way to eat eggplant is in a totally undisguised tomato-eggplant-sesame curry that my friends cobbled together ages ago: eggplant business. In college, we used to make gigantic vats of it, and eat it with diced mozzarella cheese & rice. Not authentic, but tasty nonetheless.

    1. none at all, sorry. i don’t see the point of the stuff myself. other than that it grows like CRAZY here. but then you have to eat it.

      1. Seems to be a common alaskan sentiment. But according to folks who grew up in okra land, I can fry, grill (and it tastes like asparagus?), pickle or gumbo the things.

  6. ” It has little flavor of it’s own, and melts right into other foods if you cook it long enough.”

    See, this is what I always say about zucchini (which we have scads of to hide most summers) but I have not yet learned to like the taste of eggplant myself. Maybe one day I’ll try hiding it from myself and see how I go :-)

  7. I am from Greece. In summer we just fry them in olive oil, cut in thin slices at the long diameter and we eat them sometimes dipped in yogurt. Slurp. But you have to put them in salt to get rid of the bitterness before.
    Anna

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