To prepare the aubergine (egg plant)


To prepare the aubergine (egg plant):

The egg-plant is a member of the nightshade family – related to the potato and tomato and though commonly thought of as a vegetable, eggplant is actually a fruit. Choose a firm (not too big), smooth-skinned eggplant – avoid those with soft or brown spots. Store eggplants in a cool, dry place and use within a day or two of purchase.

Cut the eggplant into 5mm thick slices (not necessary to peel) and arrange the slices on kitchen paper towel – lightly sprinkle the top side (facing up) of the slices with some coarse salt. Cover with more paper towel and leave for 20 minutes – now wipe away (also with paper towel) the brown juices from the eggplant which is responsible for the bitter and often unacceptable taste of eggplant. Eggplant can be prepared in various ways – e.g. baking in the oven (toss eggplant with some olive oil and fresh chopped herbs) or pan frying in some olive oil in a pan on the stove. The eggplant will be ready when the flesh turns transparent – this does not take long. However, eggplant has a sponge like texture and soak up oil – can be coated with batter, cake flour or bread crumbs to avoid oiliness – for the purpose of marinating the eggplant this should not be done. The cooked eggplant can now be marinated in some balsamic vinegar or the same marinate as the mushrooms.