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Pierogi

AAACKKK! Eggplant overload in my CSA share...

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I knew this day was coming. For 10 months, since I joined my CSA last September, and made the sincere Vow To The Food Gods that I would "Always Use Everything in My Share, Each Time, Without Letting it Slime and Throwing it Away", I KNEW, eventually I'd have to face my worst fears. And I've been absolutely dreading it.

EGGPLANT.

Aaacckk, as "Cathy" used to say, or "Arrrggghhh" as Charlie Brown used to say.

I honestly have to admit, I've never had an eggplant dish I can tolerate, let alone say I like.

I've tried ratatouille (great without eggplant). I've tried moussaka (love it with zucchini instead of eggplant). I've tried baba ganoush (I guess no alternative to that). I've tried eggplant parmigiana (spent a lot of time pushing the food around my plate). I've tried it fried, roasted, grilled, you name it.

I've tried the traditional European eggplants, I've tried the small globe eggplants, I've tried Japanese and Asian eggplants.

All I can say is.....blech. I don't (or at least haven't to this point) like eggplant.

And in my CSA share today, I got FIVE OF 'EM ! Now, they're mostly real small (one small Japanese cultivar, one small globe, a couple of very small ones of the Euorpean variety and one big guy), but all together it's about 2 pounds of (shudder) eggplants.

Make me love these things please ! Or at least tolerate 'em enough to work through this glut, and not just watch them decompose in my veggie drawer.

One of my friends says to peel it, and then just use the slices of flesh, that it's the skin that's the nastiest. What say all y'all about that idea?

TIA !!!

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Peeling makes sense; that, or slicing thinly crosswise, to minimize the amount of skin on each piece. I don't love eggplant, either, but have found that small pieces pretty much disappear in a well-seasoned stir-fry. I admit I'd probably be foisting them on my friends.

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We have a dish on the menu where we coat them in a light batter and fry them then spread them with a mild goats cheese with chopped mint and drizzle them with honey. Served with a grapefruit, orange & mint salad the aubergine is overwhelmed by the other flavours.... Or in a Thai or Indian style curry maybe?

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I feel your pain. Right now I'm trying to barter away all of my CSA eggplants, since the *only* dish I've ever found containing eggplant that has any enjoyment for me is Baba ghanoush. So I made a fairly large batch of that, and am now trying to trade eggplants for fennel and kohlrabi, since I seem to be one of the few people in my CSA that enjoys those.

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Best dish I know for eggplant is Moroccan eggplant salad. Essentially, take an eggplant and remove some or all of the peel (to taste), then cube. Put in a steamer with a few peeled garlic cloves and steam for 30 minutes or so, until both eggplant and garlic are very soft. Separately, cook some chopped tomatoes (I often use canned, but fresh work as well if peeled), cumin and olive oil until you have a somewhat thick sauce. Once the eggplant is cooked, roughly mash it and the garlic cloves in a bowl and mix in the tomato sauce, some lemon juice, more olive oil to taste and some chopped cilantro.

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I LOVE eggplants and make cutlets for moussaka and parmiagano, and I roast them in Ratatouille and I also make marinated eggplants as a salad side dish. And Szechuan eggplant.

However, if I were you, I would give them to an eggplant loving friend and be done with it.

I always peel mine except for cutlets. DH does not like the peel.

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I love eggplant in just about every way it can be prepared.

That being said, I do know many folks can't stand it.

This Saveur article and the side links might help.

Last year I had a surfeit of eggplants of all shapes, sizes and colors and was directed by a friend to this site: Ashbury's Aubergines

Where there are hundreds of recipes utilizing eggplant.

Select a letter and look at the list. I selected this page because I have tried the marinated eggplants, pickled eggplant and the Mince and Eggplant casserole on just this one page.

Oh! Also tried the Mock Oyster Casserole - used the small white eggplants just cut in half - it was delicious. I didn't peel them because with this variety the skin is very tender and not at all bitter.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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I bought several pounds of green eggplants last week...first up was a simple pasta:

--peel and cut eggplant into small cubes, then saute over high heat with garlic until browned/soft, then add a few T chopped tomato. Cook a bit more, and toss with medium shaped pasta, sprinkle w/pecorino. The eggplant melts into a soft topping for the pasta.

--Thai eggplant curry. Green curry is the classic pairing, but I had a tub of red curry paste on hand. I cooked a little fresh ginger & garlic in oil, then fried a few spoonfuls of curry paste to soften. Poured in a can of coconut milk, brought it to a boil, then added peeled eggplant chunks, some mushrooms, carrot slices, kaffir lime leaves, a few shakes of fish sauce, a generous pinch of sugar, and chunks of boneless, skinless chicken. Simmered it, covered, for about 20-25 minutes, stirring a few times, then removed the lid and added a big handful of Thai basil & a squeeze of fresh lime juice. The eggplant are tender & soak up the coconut milk & curry flavors beautifully. It was just as tasty reheated.

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Last year I had a surfeit of eggplants of all shapes, sizes and colors and was directed by a friend to this site: Ashbury's Aubergines

Where there are hundreds of recipes utilizing eggplant.

Yummm. Thanks, Andie. This woman cannot have too many eggplants. (Actually we had Szechuan Eggplant as one of the lunch dishes.)

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I was late to the eggplant game as I never consciously tasted one until I was in my 30's! I can't help on the "learn to love" front as I do enjoy them and was thrilled to pick and cook my first one of the season this week.

We have lots of eggplant ideas in older topics. I have been inspired by several ideas in this topic.

With friends who are not fans I have noticed that preparations where the eggplant is in small slices or chunks, and is cooked long enough for it to sort of melt into the dish, are better received. A simple one is to either roast or cook on the stove top lots of sweet peppers, onions, garlic, small potato chunks, and small eggplant chunks with a hot Italian sausage squeezed out of its casing and herbs of choice. Wonderful topped with a lemony yogurt sauce.

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the *only* dish I've ever found containing eggplant that has any enjoyment for me is Baba ghanoush

I agree.

Put them in a lovely bowl and use them as a centerpiece on your table. :raz:

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You can grill them, Roberta. Cut them in half from stem to stern, crosshatch them and salt heavily. Drain in a colander for 45 min to an hour. Rinse off the salt and pat dry. Paint them with olive oil and grill them cut side down for 10-20 min depending on how large them are. Turn them over and baste some more. Cook them until they are softened and shrunken a bit. Scrape the flesh into a bowl, and season to taste. They are a nice side with grilled meats and can be a component of grilled ratatouille.

Or, we like these: Peeled, sliced, salted and drained as above. Dust with seasoned flour, dip in beaten egg, then in cracker crumbs. Fry gently in oil until golden and keep warm on a rack over a sheet pan as you work in batches. These are a lot like fried green tomatoes.


Edited by annabelle (log)

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Your question reminded me about a stuffed pepper recipe I used to make with eggplant, bread crumbs and pine nuts - there were other things in the stuffing but that's all I can remember now - I haven't made them in at least 15 years. I tried looking on the epicurious site but nothing jogged my memory.

So slice in half and grill the eggplant til soft; scoop out the flesh and add some bread crumbs, herbs, pine nuts and probably some parmesan or other grated cheese, fill a hollowed out pepper, and grill (or bake). My husband loved these. Maybe I should make these again....

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I make eggplant parm -- slicing on a mandoline for consistency.

Then I use the eggplant parm as the "noodles" in lasagna.

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I say not to torture yourself. Sometimes when people get something like a CSA share they get caught up in the fact that they have pre-paid and it would be a waste not to use a certain item, etc, but sometimes you just have to give yourself a break. So, you don't like eggplant, oh well.

On the other hand, if you work in an office where you have an opportunity to bring in a pot-luck dish, you could make a big pan of eggplant parm (I do it lasagna stye, instead of individual cutlets), and feed the office as a treat...

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You could also pickle them - cut them into fingers and brine them for at least 24 hours in a saturated saltwater solution, then pack into jars with cuminseed and fresh herbs of your choice and pour vinegar overtop, then hot-seal for 20 minutes. Aubergine pickles are ready in about a month after jarring. They're delicious that way, and they lose a lot of the "eggplanty" character that you sound like you're objecting to.

You can also try slicing them fairly thin, salting the living snot out of them, and pressing them under heavy weight with paper towels to absorb the moisture. Eggplants have a fairly high nicotinic alkaloid content (which is what makes them icky when raw) and if you treat them in this manner, all of that bitterness just goes out of them - the salt draws it off with the excess moisture in the tissue, which is then absorbed by the paper towels. Then, absolutely, go with Scoop's suggestion - eggplant parm as lasagne noodles.

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Ack, I know the feeling! I once got eight beets and was completely at a loss for what to do with them.

My husband loathes eggplant, but there are some Chinese eggplant recipes that he eats gleefully. I think they benefit from the cutting into small chunks and cooking long enough that they sort of melt into the dish, like heidih said. Fish-fragrant eggplant is my personal favorite, if you can get pickled chili peppers. My eggplant-hating husband's favorite is Di San Xian ("Earth three fresh"), which is potatoes, green peppers and eggplant, it's pretty simple to make and the eggplant sort of goes from being an eggplant to being some kind of savory bonus that complements the potato and peppers.

But, you know, if all else fails, maybe you could give them away. (I also like pastrygirl's suggestion of using them for decoration). :raz:

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I just made a sensational caponata-style eggplant dish using eggplant that I sliced and grilled over low heat until it was smoky and soft. Then I chopped it roughly, along with a generous scoop of SobaAddict's slow roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, capers, pine nuts, and lots of fresh basil.

Served it over pasta with a crisp unoaked French Chardonnay....even my eggplant-hating guest loved it!

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But, you know, if all else fails, maybe you could give them away. (I also like pastrygirl's suggestion of using them for decoration). :raz:

Give them away.

As a fellow eggplant non-enthusiast I absolve you from spending time, labor, and ingredients on a vegetable that you do not have enthusiasm for!

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First, I'd peel 'em and salt 'em and let them sit for a half-hour or so, and then rinse off the salt and pat them dry. Then you're ready to try any number of other preparations.

I'm of a mind to try Sichuan eggplant, for which I found a recipe recently that looked quite marvelous.

If you want to cover it up a bit, do an eggplant cassesrole:

Roast your slices of eggplant until they're quite soft. Cut them in chunks. Or cut them in chunks to roast them. Make a bechamel. Put the eggplant and lots of cheese in it. Saute some onions. Throw in whatever else strikes your fancy -- peppers, etc. -- including some Italian bread crumbs. Stir it all up. Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs on top and bake it. Call it a gratin, if it makes you feel better.

If you still can't abide it, trade it with your neighbors or fellow CSA-ers for something you love that they can't abide.

K.

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...trade it with your neighbors or fellow CSA-ers for something you love that they can't abide.

You don't say how you receive your CSA order, whether you go to a place in the neighborhood to pick up the order, or whether it's delivered to your home. If you go to a central location, I suggest asking the CSA to set up a "swap box." That's what my CSA does. People drop off the vegs they know they will not eat. Drop off something you dislike one week, pick up something you like better another week.

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Thanks all ! I think I will be trying to do some of the "cook it down until it melts" suggestions, heavily seasoned with some new Middle Eastern spices I just got (za'tar, Ras al hanout or vadouvan). I can see any of them working well with eggplant (with a heavy hand, to, in fact, COVER UP the taste of the eggplant). mssurgeon81, using it as a pasta topper also sounds like a plan. Enough tomatoes and cheesecan cover up all sorts of nasties.

Darienne and baroness, I did manage to unload the biggest of the critters onto a friend who will pass it on to her parents. No one else I know has any eggplant love, either, unfortunately....

Pastrygirl, I did love the suggestion of using them as decoration, they are so beautiful and the color is simply stunning. Too bad they taste like they do...

I really do want to give them the old college try, I'm more than willing to admit I could've messed up my preps the other (few) times I've tried to cook them. However, if this round still confirms my gut reaction, I will have no problem walking away from them in the future ! But the CSA taught me to like winter squashes, that I also previously thought I hated, so, ya know, hope springs.

kayb and djyee100, as a matter of fact, the CSA *just* set up a swap box last week (I go to their farm for the pick-up). If this round of experimentation doesn't get me into the eggplant ecstasy zone, I will have absolutely no reluctance to toss all those nasty little globes right in there next time I get them!

Thanks again, guys. Looking at the amount left after I off-loaded the Big Kahuna, I feel much less afraid of my refrigerator.

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