Baingan Bharta is a dish that involves grilled and mashed eggplant with yummy spices. You can choose the spice level that works for you by varying the amount of hot peppers used, and whether or not you choose to include the seeds. If you’re short on time, grill the eggplant ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook up the rest of the dish. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, I found this dish is even more delicious the next day. Thanks to NYT Cooking for this adaptation, who adapted it from chef Julie Sahni!
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, being related to the tomato and the potato. These egg or teardrop shaped eggplants range from dark purple all the way to white and even striped in various shades of purples.
Eggplants have a meaty texture. Eggplants are served cooked and are often salted before cooking to remove any bitter flavor the eggplant may have. A common and popular preparation is to be breaded and fried for eggplant parmesan.
There are many, many varieties of eggplants, ranging from plump to skinny, royal purple to striped to white.
Eggplants can be stored at room temperature for two days, after that it is best that you place them in the fridge where it will last 5-7 days. Keep eggplants cool and out of direct sunlight. If you plan to freeze your eggplant, it needs to be blanched before being frozen.
- Nutrition- Manganese, potassium, folate, B5, B6, B3
To remove bitterness eggplant is often salted before use. Simply rub some salt on the slices and let them sit for a few minutes up to an hour in a colander or place they can easily drain. The salt can then be wiped or washed off as desired. This helps to remove any potential bitterness that can sometimes happen with eggplant.
Grilling up eggplant is a great way to prep it for the week’s use. It can then be layered onto flatbread sandwiches with roasted red peppers, pesto and goat cheese.
When an abundance of eggplant happens, Jess likes to prep hers into cutlets and freeze them for later use. First, the slices are salted in the process stated above. Next, they are dipped into a beaten egg and then into a mixture of breadcrumbs and herbs. Finally they are layed out into a single layer and then frozen. Once frozen, they can be stacked into multiple layers in a freezer bag.
Sarah saw in a magazine about cutting your eggplant like you would a mango, so she gave it a try. She seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic. Roasted them in a hot oven and drizzled it with balsamic when they came out. It was really nice how the flavor really sinks into the cuts while roasting.
Recipes Using Eggplant
The quintessential August recipe! This recipe from Alice Waters is Jess’ favorite at the moment. Taking the time to salt the eggplant removes any potential bitterness that may effect the overall flavor of the dish. (If you’re looking for fancy, there are many beautiful layered ratatouille versions out there as well.) This version uses a basil boquet that is removed after cooking, so you can get away with using basil that’s starting to bolt, making it a great end-of-season recipe!