One of my favorite and one of the most versatile vegetables is in season. Eggplant, (also called brinjal or aubergine in different parts of the world), starts appearing in August and stays in season through fall. Having long shed their negative image of being part of the toxic nightshade family, eggplant along with tomatoes and bell peppers are valued for their many nutritive qualities.
The texture and taste of eggplant is often described as “meaty.” However, during its season, the dense and spongy flesh has none of the fatty or savory protein (umami) taste associated with meat. Instead, eggplant has more of a fruity taste that is complemented by its soft skin and seeds. The newer eggplant varieties do not even need to be salted to remove any bitterness. The only downside of eggplant is that its spongy flesh easily soaks up oil. Last week, I decided to try baking freshly-picked organic eggplants to reduce the amount of oil normally required to cook them.
The baked eggplant was flavorful; the purple skin was perfectly scorched and smoky and the flesh moist and soft. I used the baked, cubed eggplant pieces in a salad with diced cucumber and red pepper. I also blended the baked eggplant to make smooth baba ganoush dip.
Baked Eggplant Cubes
Eggplant – 1 lb
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the eggplant into cubes.
- Arrange them on an aluminum foil.
- Either use nonstick spray or toss them in two tablespoons of oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Turn over the cubed eggplant and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove and cool the eggplant.