The skinny on eggplant

When you eat it, eggplant can really make you wonder what they heck you were thinking when you bought it.  I’ll tell what you what I was thinking:  it was cute and purple and in season.  If you don’t do it right though, you get (like I got) big, bitter, spongy squares of no good, over priced organic eggplant and you start thinking maybe Stouffer’s is not so bad after all.  Whoa mama.

How you cut it, counts.  For a ratatuoille, cut the eggplant into small cubes no larger than 1/2 inch.  Be sure the frying pan is heavy and hot and that the olive oil you use is your best, before the eggplant goes in–eggplant absorbs soaks up oil like a sponge, even with the hot pan.  For a sandwich, try cutting it into rounds that are paper thin.  Same deal with the pan–hot and heavy–season lightly with salt and tiny grind of pepper.  It will only take a minute to fry on both sides.  Be sure there is no more tinge of white to the flesh, and it’s done.  Try covering a baguette with the slices of egpplant overlapping each other, and then shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano, topped with baby spinach leaves that have been dressed with a little olive oil, lemon and salt, and finally the other half of the baguette.  Oui, Oui!!

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