From China, the eggplant spread all over the world, gradually acquiring the deep, lustrous colors we are most familiar with today. Today, the eggplant has come full circle, with local farmers growing many of the long, narrow Asian varieties, which range in color from solid purple, lavender, or green to striated shades of purple and white. These eggplants have tender skins and slightly sweet flesh, and cook up quickly and easily on the grill or in a pan.
Eggplant does have a sponge-like capacity to soak up oil, but that shouldn't keep you away from a vegetable that has only 25 calories per half cup serving, and is extremely mineral rich with healthy doses of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.
Eggplant is the main ingredient in many popular dishes around the world: caponata and eggplant parmigiana in Italy; ratatouille in France; baba ghanoush in the Middle East, and grilled with soy sauce or garlic in many Asian countries. So find some fresh, glossy-skinned eggplants from a local farmer, and give these recipes a try.
Sauteed Asian Eggplant Ingredients 2 or 3 Asian eggplants (about a pound)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, and then into 2 inch pieces.
- Heat the oil, and then fry the garlic and shrimp paste for about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggplant and soy sauce. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Can be added to pasta or rice as a meal, or eaten alone as a side.
Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main course.
The Land Connection Foundation
The best way to enjoy healthy, seasonal produce is to buy it from your local community farmer. To locate the farmers' market or CSA nearest you, visit www.localharvest.org.
Farm Fresh Now! is a project of The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit that preserves farmland, trains new farmers, and connects people with great locally-grown foods. This series is made possible with generous support from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.