Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale eggplant that is. I bought the plants at a local greenhouse and really wasn't aware that these small, striped eggplant are so different than the large Black Beauty eggplant I'd grown for years. When the first fruits appeared I thought something was wrong, that they were deformed, or worse. The fruits weren't the deep purple I was used to and they were about the size and shape of a small banana - 5" or so.

So, a couple nights ago I used them in a cheesy squash/eggplant casserole and it came out great. Mild flavor, white flesh, skins more tender than the large eggplant, and they didn't seem to brown as quickly when exposed to the air. Plus, the small size is a bit deceiving since the plants are prolific and produce an abundance of the fruits.

Tonight I fixed them an interesting fried way that is a bit bland but the texture and mouth feel was great. The eggplant and the potato flakes lend themselves to adding flavors like Cajun spices or dipping in dressings or sauces that give it just the kick you want. Here is what I did for what I'll call Potato Crusted Eggplant:
  • Peel and slice the eggplant in 1/2 inch slices and place in cold, lightly salted water for 10 minutes.
  • Beat one egg with a tablespoon of water and add salt and pepper to taste (you could substitute seasoning salt, Cajun spices, Dizzy Dust, or your own concoction).
  • Put one cup of instant mashed potato flakes in a shallow bowl.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet with 1/4 cup butter over medium flame.
  • Drain the eggplant and dip slices in the egg mixture and then coat in the potato flakes. Brown in the butter for 3-4 minutes per side until golden. 
  • Serve warm as a side dish or as an appetizer with a dipping sauce.
Fresh eggplant from the garden doesn't last all that long so enjoy them while you can. Eggplant Parmesan is good, but there is more than one way to skin an eggplant (and way more than one variety of eggplant to choose from).

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