Eggplant, Finding Beauty Beneath the Blemish

Waste not, want not.
Eggplant, finding the beauty beneath the blemish.

Most of us purchase and use eggplant for traditional preparations, such as eggplant Parmesan, grilled and stuffed with ricotta for an Eggplant Roulade or perhaps even a breaded eggplant version of a French fry. But ultimately, there will come a time when you find a handful of eggplant within the case that are looking less than desirable. Speckled with blemishes & feel soft to the touch or skin that has turned a light tan color (and not the color tan you want to paint your walls with.) If you are purchasing a long slender variety, you may find the eggplant to be what can best be described as “limp” after some time. This however, is no reason to discard the ugly “eggplantlingsā€¯ of the bunch.

Enter the world of Caponata. Eggplant Caponata is a traditional Sicilian eggplant-based condiment. Great served on grilled crusty bread, perfect and subtle enough to serve with seafood & yet complex enough to serve with beef or pork. Thus, making Caponata one of the most well rounded and diverse eggplant dishes you can add to your repertoire.

Tasty Ideas:

  • As an accoutrement on a cheese/charcuterie board
  • As an alternative to pizza sauce
  • Fold into a Hollandaise sauce for a creative twist on eggs Benedict
  • When roasting a whole chicken or turkey, place a generous amount under the skin to impart nice flavors to the flesh during the baking process.
  • Add to a risotto, along with a pinch of saffron for a great vegetarian menu offering, or for the base of a kick ass Osso Bucco.
  • Use as a condiment for an Italian deli sandwich; either straight up, mixed with mayo for an aioli or together folded into mustard for a unique sandwich condiment… eggplant mustard.

May your life and stomach always be full,
Chef Tim

Follow Chef Tim on Twitter @chefdifference

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