Friday, August 9, 2013

In The Kitchen - Farmer's Market Favorites - Eggplants

Eggplants at Santa Monica Farmer's Market

I absolutely love eggplants and eat them almost every day.  This is my favorite time of the year at the farmer's markets because eggplants are in season (through September) and there are many amazing varieties to choose from.  I took these two photos at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.

Eggplants are native to India and called Aubergine in France and England.  And, did you know that there is a male and female eggplant?  The male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds than the female, which make them less bitter.  You can identify the sex by looking at the bottom of the eggplant ... if it's round and shallow, it's male.  If it's shaped like a dash and deep, it's female. Who knew!

Eggplants at Santa Monica Farmer's Market

One of my favorite ways to use eggplants is to dice them, toss them with Tuscan Herb olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 425° for 25 minutes.  I put them in my roasted vegetable salads with cannellini beans that I eat almost daily for lunch.  Adds great flavor and texture to the salads.  I also use them in my Quinoa Cakes.  I usually have a jar of roasted eggplant on hand in the fridge to mix into dishes. Yum!

American 'Globe' Eggplant

Chinese Eggplant
Thinner skins, fewer seeds and a more delicate flavor than American

Indian Eggplant
Medium, thick skin and creamy flesh

Japanese Ichiban 'Orient Express' Eggplant
Thin skin with a delicate, sweet flavor

Italian Eggplant
Smaller than American, but very similar

Information & individual eggplant images via:  The Cook's Theasaurus

All other images via Bella Bella Vita.

Happy shopping & Buon Appetito!

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