Eggplant

It is the height of the summer which means long days, heat, white wine, and fresh local produce. There are few things more delicious than a big juicy tomato from my garden. Tomatoes are full of flavor and easy to cook with. Chop it up in a salad or toss it with your pasta. But, we’re not here to talk about tomatoes. I want to talk about the vegetables that aren’t so easy to cook with.  Eggplant to be more specific. I have always seen eggplant as a beautiful, mysterious vegetable. I admire its shiny bold beauty but have never been able to master the art of cooking it. Do I peel it or leave the skin on? How long do I cook it for? Why do I have to salt it for an hour?! I will admit that once or twice I have spent hours planning and slaving over a dish only  to have a big bit of squeaky, rubbery eggplant. So disappointing. Over time I have simply stopped fooling around with this difficult vegetable and left it up to the experts. However, now that I am the new produce manager here at feast! and that it is peak eggplant season, I have been ordering heaps of  eggplant from farmers and the local food hub. As it comes in and I place it on the produce boat, I am once again struck by its splendor. All I want to do is make some Eggplant Parmesan! Has this ever happened to you? Don’t be embarrassed. Apparently, this is a common occurrence among Americans as opposed to other countries like France and Turkey who use the plant often in dishes. Luckily, Ayla Algar from finecooking.com has the answer.

The possibilities are endless! Ratatouille for dinner? I think so.

Eggplant from Holland’s Three Rivers Farm in Rockbridge County

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