Eggplant Arrives at the Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market



By Senior Certified Executive Chef Paul Higgins

Mount Vernon — Every season as eggplant starts showing up at the Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market  so does the question “How do I prepare it?”

Eggplant a native to southern India and Sri Lanka Gets its name from its shape. It

is a fruit and is part of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and chili peppers.

Eggplant fun facts:

The United States ranks 20th in eggplant production.

  • Eggplants are perishable, so use within 2-3 days of purchase
  • Select eggplant that has a glossy shine, dull color indicates overripe and bitter
  • Eggplant is a good source of Vitamin A, C, B complex and potassium
  • About 30 calories per cup

Wash the eggplant just before using. Use a stainless steel knife, so not to discolor the eggplant.

Eggplant should not be eaten raw.

 

Recipes

 

Baba Ghanoush

Think of it as Hummus made with eggplant

Bake or broil the eggplant skin on before peeling, so the pulp is soft and has a smoky taste. Place the eggplant on a sheet pan and pierce with a fork, place in a 350-degree oven

In a bowl mix in ¼ cup Tahini, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 gloves of pressed garlic, 2 tbsp lemon juice and season with paprika, cumin and salt

Add the cooked eggplant to the bowl and mix with a fork. Having a few chunks is OK

Serve with pita bread, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips.

 

Ratatouille

This is no relation to Remy, the infamous resident of Paris who enjoyed good food and had sophisticated palate.

This thick and silky French stew of eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers, and ripe tomatoes is a real sign that summer is here, you can make enough to feed your family, and freeze for later.

Ingredients:

5 tbsp. olive oil divided

1 1/2 lbs. eggplant (1 large), large dice

1 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash (3 to 4 medium squash), large dice

1 med yellow onion diced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 lbs. tomatoes (3 to 4 medium), large dice

1 large bell pepper, large dice

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves thinly sliced

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Add the eggplant, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pot. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggplant.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and bell peppers. Add the eggplant and zucchini and gently stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. A shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables larger and more distinct; cooking longer will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before serving, stir in the basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve.

 

Also try Eggplant Parnassian, Eggplant Bruschetta.

Contact Chef Paul with questions or comments at higginspl@kenyon.edu

Information provided by the Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market

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