Yesterday, I was making an appetizer with eggplant. It involves slicing the eggplants thinly, oiling them up with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, chopped garlic and chopped basil leaves, and either broiling them or using a stovetop grill to cook them until tender on both sides. I had harvested the eggplants before a threatened frost, leaving their smaller brethren to the depredations of nature (they were fine). So, while I was waiting for the slices to cook, I cut up the odd pieces to throw into the red bean dish I was making for supper. Just to use them, mind you. I’ve never heard of eggplant in red beans and rice. Lamb sausage, maybe, but not eggplant. Anyway, I was hungry and wondered what raw eggplant tasted like.
Well, it’s sweet. It reminded me of eating sweet purple top turnips raw. The texture is different of course, and there isn’t anything close to a turnip taste, but the sweetness is the same. I was encouraged at that point and decided to try some of the skin raw. That wasn’t as big a success, not because it was bitter, but because it was tough. I do have a whole dish of eggplant slices now, broiled and marinating in lemon, garlic, olive oil and basil. They’re lovely as antipasto, by themselves or wrapped around rice or cheese or anything that goes well with a silky, lemony taste.
There are more eggplants in my garden and I’m hoping they’ll have a chance to get a little bigger. I’ve already used two others in an eggplant tomato soup, which is delicious. The last of the ripe tomatoes went into that.
In the next few weeks, I’ll rip out the okra and tomatoes and put the cold frame back in the garden. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the next crop of carrots, my turnips, peas, and just maybe some cauliflower. We’ll see how cold it gets this winter!