Saturday, September 1, 2012

Not Your Nonna's Eggplant......or is it?

Why was the tomato blushing?
Because it saw the salad dressing.  

Whether you are a CSA member, a home gardener, or the lucky friend of a gardener, tomatoes are one of those things you should NEVER turn down.  And you can dress them up or dress them down. Nothing beats the garden varieties. Personally, when I go to  a restaurant and order a salad, I can tell if that tomato slice started out green when it began its long journey on the delivery truck, or whether it's a locally grown tomato. Yes, I am a Tomato Snob too.  

It's important to Honor Thy Tomato, don't you think? When you get them home, there is no need to refrigerate them, especially if they have a little more ripening  to do. If they sit too long on the counter, however, you may want to let them chill out in the fridge as you don't want them to rot.   You can make salsa, gazpacho,  homemade sauce, or Panzanella Salad. For my Popping Panzanella Salad recipe,  please click here.  The orange tomatoes in this week's CSA box would also work great here.  

While digging my way through this week's box,  I was thinking,
 "Ok, I've got this. Peppers, squash, corn, tomatoes...."

And then  I struck 4 white eggplants.

"What the....."

My coping mechanism when I don't know what else to do

Seriously, Confreda's, you know how to keep the spark in our relationship alive. Just when I thought we were in the Seven Week Itch, you pulled out all the stops!

From the outside, the white eggplant (also known as Ornamental White Eggplant) looks just like the purple kind, only it's white.  They are denser, creamier and less bitter, even though they can have more seeds. The skin of a white eggplant is tougher than purple eggplant so you should peel it. 

As much as I complain about what a chore making eggplant parm is, it's really not that bad if you have a system in place and know the right short cuts. I decided to put the Ornamental White Eggplant to the test and see how it stood up in its most popular recipe.  This Food Network recipe is pretty darned close to how I make mine, so click here for the recipe.

The result? It was delicious and I think I actually prefer the white to the purple eggplant.

My own tips:
  • To get the water out of the eggplant, click here for a previous eggplant blog which shows you how.
  • After flouring, egging, and dipping in the bread crumbs, let the eggplant slices chill in the fridge before frying them (My neighbor Larry, the chef taught me this one.)
  • Sometimes I skip the flour part and just egg and breadcrumb. I still can't tell the difference when the flour is AWOL.
  • Instead of using shallow bowls for dipping the flour/breadcrumbs, use wax paper as your "dipping stations" instead and you'll have 2 less dishes to wash.
  • If you have 2 large skillets, use them both to fry the eggplant. This will cut your time in half.
  • If you're going to commit to making eggplant, you may as well fry up a whole bunch. You can freeze the fried slices in Ziploc bags for later too.
Thank you Confreda's for making each week sweet and special!


Debbie Turner said...

3Great tips Becky!

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