Featured Vegetable - Eggplant: History,
Facts and Recipe
Eggplant is a big favorite in many areas
of the South. Thomas Jefferson, who experimented with many varieties of
plants in his Virginia garden, is credited with the introduction of
eggplant to North America. Of Asian origin, the early varieties were
very bitter to the taste, but cultivation and crossbreeding have
greatly improved the flavor. Eggplant is delicious hot or cold and can
be enjoyed marinated, stuffed, roasted, grilled, fried, in a casserole,
in stews, or on brochettes. Sliced eggplant absorbs oil like a sponge,
but a good bread crumb or batter coating will help, and make sure the
oil is preheated.
allspice, basil, bay leaves, garlic, chile powder, oregano, sage,
thyme, marjoram, and parsley. It's a natural combined with tomatoes and
onions, as in the popular dish Ratatouille.
Male eggplants have fewer seeds
(which are often bitter) than the female; they have a rounder, smoother
blossom end or base. The blossom end of a female eggplant is generally
indented. Store an eggplant in a perforated plastic bag in the
refrigerator where it should keep for several days. It may be blanched
or steamed then frozen for up to six months.
Eggplant Yield: 1 pound = 3 to 4
A delicious dish for eggplant
lovers, you can substitute lamb or a mixture of pork and beef. A Greek
2 medium eggplants
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound lean ground beef
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, drained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Slice eggplants in 1/2-inch slices.
In a large kettle, boil eggplant slices 5 to 10 minutes, until tender.
Drain in colander or on paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant with 2
teaspoons of salt and place a layer of paper towels on top of the
Place a heavy casserole or bowl on
top of eggplant, pressing down to squeeze out excess water. Arrange
half of the eggplant slices in a
13x9x2-inch baking dish.
In a large skillet, brown ground
beef; drain off excess fat. Add drained tomatoes, breaking up with a
spoon. Add tomato sauce, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, oregano, and
Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread meat
mixture over the eggplant. Top meat mixture with remaining eggplant
slices. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour; remove
from heat. Gradually stir in milk; return to heat and cook until
thickened, stirring constantly. Add shredded cheese and continue
stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Add a small
portion of the mixture to the eggs, beating quickly, then return egg
mixture to sauce in saucepan, whisking in quickly. Pour cheese sauce
over the all. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes, or until topping is set.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving. This eggplant recipe serves 6.