Believe it or not, eggplant, commonly thought of as a vegetable, is really a fruit, specifically a berry! It’s related to the potato and tomato and comes in many varieties. It ranges in color from the traditional rich purple to white; can be oblong or round; and can be 2 to 12 inches in length. It’s best known for a dish it’s often prepared in, Eggplant Parmesan, where sautéed eggplant is baked with tomato sauce and cheese. Take note: Eggplants become bitter with age and are very perishable.
How to Buy
Choose smooth, glossy, taut-skinned eggplant that is free from blemishes and rust spots. Caps and stems should be intact and free of mold.
How to Prepare
Just before cooking, wash eggplant; peel if desired. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes or 1/4-inch slices.
How to Cook Conventionally
Boil: Covered 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.
Sauté: Melt 3 to 4 tablespoons butter or margarine in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant in butter uncovered 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.
Steam: Covered 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
How to Microwave
Cubes-Place in 1 1/2-quart microwavable casserole; add 2 tablespoons water. Cover. Microwave 7 to 9 minutes, stirring twice, until tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Slices -Arrange slices, overlapping, in a circle around edge of 9-inch microwavable pie plate; add 2 tablespoons water. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Let stand 5 minutes.