First, not all eggplant is created equally, Chef Jamie Simpson explains. If you picture the big purple ones in a grocery store, that’s a mature plant that is therefore full of mature seeds and comes with a spongy texture. These crops are planted and harvested in a way to maximize the most tons grown per acre.
Now, compare that to the eggplant grown at The Chef’s Garden. Small in size and huge in flavor, the seeds haven’t had a chance to mature, and the texture is denser, less spongy, creating a delicious eating experience, one quite different from one using supermarket eggplants.
“You can bake our eggplants in a traditional way,” says Culinary Vegetable Institute Chef Jamie Simpson. “You can also marinate them when still raw and then top them with a sauce. Although our eggplant isn’t spongy like the larger ones are, it still picks up the flavor of the marinade. You can braise them or split them in half and then grill them with the cut side facing the heat or sear them in olive oil, again with the cut side facing the heat source.”
Here’s another technique. Split the eggplant lengthwise and then dredge it in flour, an egg wash, and then seasoned breadcrumbs. Pan fry the eggplants in vegetable oil at 350 degrees until crispy, and then season them with salt.
“I like to cut baby eggplant in half and then give a good sear to the cut side and then turn it over to the other side to cook,” Jamie says. “Because I don’t peel them, the skin side is now face down. With eggplant, its moisture causes it to expand and swell inside. That’s because the water inside the flesh has reached a boiling point and the interior eggplant is effectively being steamed. As another technique, eggplants pickle well and that can be kind of fun.”
Like potatoes, Jamie notes, eggplants can quickly oxidize with the cut part darkening when it’s exposed to the air. To prevent that, you can cut the eggplant and immediately put it into a saltwater brine. That keeps them from darkening while you’re handling other parts of the recipe.
Health Benefits of Eating Eggplant
Besides being quite flavorful, eggplant has health benefits. Although benefits can vary by type, MedicalNewsToday.com notes how they can help with heart health; in managing cholesterol levels; protecting the body against cancer; assisting in brain health and cognitive function; and helping with eye health.
Healthline.com shares how eggplants are vitamin, mineral, fiber, and antioxidant rich and may help with regulating blood sugar and managing weight. Plus, eggplants are included on the website for the World’s Healthiest Foods.
Ones to enjoy include the following:
- Sesame Cilantro Chili Eggplant Recipe by Chef Jehangir Mehta
- Hot Honey Glazed Crispy Eggplant by Chef Jamie Simpson
- Farmer Lee’s Famous ELT Sandwich by Farmer Lee Jones
Order yours online. Your eggplant will be harvested upon order and shipped fresh, directly to your front door.