Conquering the Eggplant

So. My mom always told me she never cooked with eggplants because they are “bitter” and don’t cook well. Well, that’s all fine and good but I love eggplant, and it’s usually pretty awesome when you get it at a restaurant. What’s the secret? It seems that I have had the secret tucked away in my “Vegetable Love” cookbook for almost four years, without even knowing it.

When I grocery shop hungry, I come home with entirely too many fruits and vegetables AND frequently something I’ve always just wanted to try out. So… I came home with a beautiful, glossy and giant eggplant. What do I do with it? I decided to cook with it today; I combed my veggie cookbook and found a yummy lookin’ recipe: eggplant lasagna

As I looked at the recipe and the surrounding ones, I noticed they all started with “soak your sliced eggplant in saltwater for 30 minutes and pat dry. Interesting. So, I following the directions to the basic cooking directions (the veggies are divided by categories and types. Eggs plants were around page 580. Here it told me the answer to “fixing” the bitterness. The saltwater soak apparently sucks out the bitterness. WIN!

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This lasagna took a long time because the eggplant went through a few steps: saltwater soak..then oven grilling. THEN I was able to build the lasagna. IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. Plus, the grilled egg plant was kind of like eggplant chips… yum. A snack on the way to an entree. It also called for a beschamel sauce. This sauce is definitely a secret ingredient. Yum. I used a spaghetti sauce I made yesterday with ground turkey. It was so fantastic…and there’s leftovers.

So here’s the thing mom. Eggplant is only bitter (apparently) if you don’t soak it first. *Also, the saltwater soak does not make the eggplant salty at all. Must be some magical chemical reaction… that I may understand if I was up on my sciences instead of my rhetoric and dance?

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