Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
|Now let this drain for about half an hour. That's just enough time for the alkaloid laden liquids to drain away. Do you have to do that? Well, no if you like the idea of something that taste like an old cigarette butt soaked in tonic water well just go ahead and eat it. But I don't.||
2 Cups Roasted Eggplant
|Now that Mr. and Mrs. Eggplants' remains are thoroughly drained, remove them to the food bowl of your food processor and add two cloves of garlic, sliced, about 3 quarters of a teaspoon of salt, 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, and about 4 tablespoons of tahini. Good stuff if not a little bit messy. Now time to chew.||
2 Cloves Garlic, Sliced
Baba Ghanoush is often referred to as "poor man's caviar".
|Work into a paste and then give it a taste. I always keep a tasting spoon nearby. Mmm. If you think it needs a little more salt, now is the time. You want to add some pepper? Now is the time. I think this tastes pretty good.||
Salt & Pepper To Taste
|Oh, if the eggplant is still a little bitter for you, nothing like a few drops of honey to take care of that.||
Few Drops Honey
|This is where I would finally add herbs. If you add them too early they'll get too chopped up and will turn bitter. I like a little parsley. Mmm, that's probably half a sprig all together. Bolt this on. Pulse just a few times. You don't want to pulverize that parsley and you are done.||
1/2 Sprig Parsley
Toast up some pita chips, pop Ishtar into the DVD and, [takes a bite] mmm, get ready for a big night.
Thomas Jefferson is often credited with planting
the first eggplants in America at Monticello
MG: [carries a heavy basket of eggplant to the door, rings door bell]
AB: Hey, Mr. McGregor. Wow, you really do have a purple thumb, don't ya?
MG: Great thing about eggplant, you know: grow like weeds, can't kill 'em with a stick.
AB: You don't say. Hey, you sure that you and the wife have enough of these?
MG: Oh, no, no, NO. She's already pickling a whole batch. I'll get you some of that.
AB: Oh, I look forward to that.
MG: Yeah, good. Eat 'm up. I'll go get you some more.
AB: Okay. Heh. Thanks. I think.
This is a botanical sponge meaning that it is porous meaning that it is full of individual air spaces or pores. That means that
one slice this will soak up just about any fluid around be it fat or liquid. And that's bad because cooked, saturated eggplant turns into mush.
So with the exception of baba ghanoush, I never cook eggplant without giving it a good wringing first. [squeezes eggplant
slice and it crumbles] Okay that's not going to work. Why? [falls back on to a air chair]
Because the eggplant cell walls are rigid, they're full of water kind of the way this [balloon] chair is full of air. Now it stands to reason that if we want to collapse those air spaces in that eggplant, we're going to have to coax some of the water out of the cell walls. Sounds like a job for ... [salt container is slid into view] Bingo. Here's how.
[voice over] Lay the slices out on a rack over the sink and the liberally sprinkle with kosher salt. Now in 10 or 15 minutes enough moisture will have leeched out via osmosis to hold on to that salt. So flip them over and repeat.
Cell walls are collapsing as we speak. We've initiated the purging process. Now purging is a lot like brining or curing only the eggplant's never going to get a chance to reabsorb any of that liquid because it's draining away. It's a one way trip. Now depending on the size and shape of the purging pieces, one to three hours will do the trick. But hey if you can afford more time, great.
[voice over] After a thorough rinsing to remove any excess salt we are ready to wring. Now the cell walls are seriously weakened at this point so it's not going to take much. I just treat them like a sponge. After a good squeeze, dry thoroughly by wrapping your rounds in paper towels. Now when cooked these compressed chunks of flesh will take on a darned pleasant and meaty consistency.
And don't worry. Once purged those pieces aren't going to soak up any more liquid than this [now flat balloon] chair would suck up air. But that doesn't mean we can't get liquid to stick to it. Something sticky perhaps like steak sauce. Of course we'd never just use steak sauce, would we? No, no, no. Not when we can build our own.
Start with about half a cup of extra virgin olive oil. Follow that with a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup of ... oh, go ahead with the steak sauce. Pretty, no? It's the lava lamp you can eat. And last but by no means least, two tablespoons of honey. Hey, I never said food was fast. Now bring this all together in a bowl.
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive
Now there's nothing standing between us and the grill. [thunder] Did I mention that a broiler is basically just an upside down grill? Now once your broiler is up to full throttle, just slide these right in. You want to look for about 6 to 8 inches away from the flame if it's a gas broiler, 5 to 6 inches if it's an electric broiler. Now cook these for, say, 3 minutes on each side or until the eggplant just starts to char around the outside.
By the way, barbecue sauce is mighty good on eggplant.
Now at this point you could plate, sprinkle on nice fresh herbs, maybe grind on some pepper and serve.
Or you could pull these out, sprinkle on a little bit of hard cheese, shredded of course. I like Romano but parmesan would be fine as well. And be liberal with it. Try to cover each slice. Some of it's going to fall off but hey, that's why we're over a pan. There. Now back under until this is crusty brown.
Shredded Hard Cheese
Now that is what I call good eats.
Although eggplants are available all year long,
they taste best from mid to late summer.
MG: [dragging box of eggplants to the front door, rings doorbell]
AB: Hey, Mr. McGregor.
MG: Hey there, Mr. Brown. You're ready for more eggplants aren't you I hope?
AB: Ah, about the eggplants. I'm kind of running short of counter space right now and I really don't think that I can ...
MG: Oh, good, good, good. Here you go. Still warm from this morning's sun. Aren't they beautiful?
AB: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's a beauty.
MG: Yeah, all right. Hey, I'll be back around tomorrow.
AB: Oh listen, about tomorrow. I'm going out of town.
MG: Oh yeah? Where to?
MG: Des Moines.
AB: That's right. I'm going to Des Moines.
MG: Well, I leave your share on your back deck.
AB: Oh, I just got a dog.
MG: I like dogs.
AB: He's got rabies!
MG: [walking away] Have a nice trip.
GUEST: Woman peeler
For its next performance, eggplant is going to turn itself into pasta. We've got to do a little prepping. Before we cut it lengthwise and purge it we're actually going to peel it or at least mostly peel it. So cut off the calyx end and just peel from the top almost to the bloom end and then kind of kick out so that you leave just a little skin here at the bottom.
WOMAN PEELER: [screams off camera and fall]
Egads! [runs over to woman]
CHEF: She's dead, Jim.
AB: Bones, what happened here?
C: Darn it, Jim. I'm a cook not a detective.
AB: Well we don't have to look far. There's the culprit. Another senseless peeler death.
C: Third one this year.
AB: You know these kids. They get out of culinary school with their fancy knives and they're still carrying these, these death traps, these 50 cent peelers. It's ....
AB: ... tragic.
C: Time to start taking applications?
AB: Yeah. Right away. And get the body out of here, will ya, and go ahead and notify the family.
As we've seen here today, proper peeler evaluation is critical to your health and happiness. There are many factors for you to
consider. First off, the handle. Let's face it. If your hand cramps after two point five spuds, you're in possession of a bad tool. So all flimsy,
measly and uncomfortable looking handles have got to go. Next, blade configuration. Remember shaving with one of these
[straight blade razors]? That's right. You walked around with a lot of tissue dots on you. Then came the
"swivel". No more dots. Well what's good for shaving is good for peeling so all non-swivel models have to go. Of course a swivel is a
moving part so you need to check the connection. If it's flimsy, if the blade just pops right out, imagine what a few bags of carrots will do.
So cheap connections, got to go.
Now as far as the blade itself goes, we've got two major choices. You could go with one of these ceramic models which never need sharpening, but they're expensive and what's more they're breakable. I don't like them. That leads us with stainless but even there we've got some choices: smooth or serrated. Now I find that these serrations stay sharper a lot longer. Those little teeth really grab hold of thick skin like on an eggplant or, say, a rutabaga. So I'm going to get rid of the smooth blades.
That leaves us with style to consider. Now we've got a straight model. Very nice for taking a very thin layer off of a relatively uniform object, say a carrot or potato. This one has even got a little digger tool for getting eyes out of a potato. Yeah, I like that. That's nice. Then there are harp or "y" peelers. They usually have a deeper, wider bite so they're really adept at handling heavy peels and large surface areas like a really big eggplant. I also like these for shaving chocolate.
So the answer seems clear. Every kitchen needs two peelers, a straight and a "y" peeler with a comfortable grips and swiveling, micro-serrated blades heartily attached to the rest of the device. Oh, you don't want to spend money for two. Well fine. The next tragedy will be on your head.
•Swiveling micro-serrated blades
•At least two shapes on hand at all times
Our eggplant has been peeled, purged and cut into fine strips. Why? Because we're going to make eggplant parmesan. Oh, I know. You're saying that takes too long. Well we've got a version around here that takes one minute. And to prove that we're going to bring on my script supervisor, Stephanie.
AB: Stephanie will you please come in and help me out with this.
She has a special stop watch.
AB: Are you ready?
STEPHANIE: I'm ready.
AB: Set. Go.
|[adds oil to hot skillet]||
1 Tbls Olive Oil
|[adds garlic and chile flakes]
AB: Count down every 10 seconds for me if you would.
1/4 tsp Minced Garlic &
| S: 10.
[adds garlic strips, tosses]
1 Med/Large Eggplant Sliced, Purged And Cut Into Strips
|[adds tomato, tosses]
[continues to toss]
1 Small Tomato, Seeded And Diced
3 Tbls Cream
[adds cheese, tosses]
1 Tbls Basil Chiffonade
1-2 Tbls Shredded Parmesan Cheese
|S: 53 ... 54 ... 55 ... 56 ... 57 ...
[plates, adds crumbs]
S: ... 58 ... 59 ... 1 minute.
[flicks food off end of tongs while waiting for 1 minute to be up, taps on dish]
Bread Crumbs To Taste
S: Pretty impressive.
This recipe can be doubled but you'll need a bigger pan and 2 minutes at least.
MG: [brings wheelbarrow up to steps filled with eggplant, rings doorbell]
AB: Hello, McGregor.
MG: Hey there, Mr. Brown. What'dya do with the eggplants I left while you were away?
AB: Batting practice.
MG: [laughs] Heard that already from Mr. Anderson up the street. Heh. Hey, got you some more.
AB: Oh, no. No, no, no. No more of your tribbles, McGregor.
MG: But, but. But, but, but I can't bring them back home.
AB: Nope. Nope. I'm not buying. [closes door]
MG: Mrs. McGregor will kill me. And I can't throw them away. [sobs] I've raised them from little seeds. [sobbing]
AB: [returns] All right. I'll take them.
MG: Oh, great. Hey, and I'll have some more for you tomorrow.
MG: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MG: And you can, you can keep the wheelbarrow. [runs off]
AB: No! You take ... [picks up an eggplant and lobs it at MG]
GUEST: Maureen "Princess" Petrovsky
Eggplants keep best between 45 and 50 degrees so the average chill chest is a little on the chilly side. If you're going to
cook your eggplants within a day or two, just set them in the coolest spot you can find in your kitchen ... [looks
around at eggplants everywhere] ... if there's any room left. If you need to hold them longer than that, wrap in a couple layers of
plastic wrap and keep them on the top shelf of your fridge. But remember under perfect conditions an eggplant is only going to keep 14 days.
If you bought at the market, there's no real way to know how long it's been on the run so eat quick. Or go ahead and slice, purge, and dry your
pods and seal them in heavy freezer bags. Refrigerate this for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. [sighs]
I'm going to need a bigger box.
This week we're proud to launch the first in a series of investigative field reports generated by Good Eats staff members. Today executive Sous Chef, Maureen "Princess" Petrovsky, brings us this story on eggplant and nutrition.
MAUREEN "PRINCIESS" PETROVSKY: [on a small TV behind Alton] Thanks, AB. I'm here at the World Nutrition Symposium in Brussels, Belgium. After several days of meetings, lectures, and speeches concerning eggplant, I've got great news. Eggplant is almost entirely fat free. The bad news is it's almost entirely protein, carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral free, too. In other words, eggplant isn't really very nutritious at all. Sorry.
AB: Thank you Maureen.
Well there you have it, kids. You can all relax and eat your eggplant because although it's by no means bad for you it's not apparently that good for you either.
AB: [off camera to no one in particular] YOU HEAR THAT, MCGREGOR!
So what have we learned? We've learned that eggplants are berries. That you can avoid bitter ones by buying either young pods or male pods whenever possible. You should purge them by slicing them, then salting them, letting them stand, then rinsing and squeezing them. We also learned that they liked to be stored and cool—but not too cool—of a place.
And we've also learned that although eggplants aren't necessarily good neighbors, they are most definitely good eats. See you next time.
Proof Reading help from Sue Libretti
Last Edited on 08/27/2010