This is another case of a vegetable purchase made solely on good looks. My nephew Michael had these beautiful little heirloom Turkish Orange eggplants, which he had grown and was selling at his Sun Born Organics booth at the farmer's market. I snapped them up, eager to see how they compared to the other varieties of eggplants I had been devouring this summer.
I've gotten into a bit of an eggplant rut. Every week, I'll come home laden with eggplant from the market - Thai eggplants; bulbous, shiny aubergines; creamy white albino eggplants... whatever looks good. I load up my BBQ with eggplant slices, and add the grilled results to salads and sandwiches for lunches all week long. Sometimes, I just eat the grilled eggplant mezza style- plain, but alongside tabouleh, hummus, grilled peppers, olives and pita. Or, I'll roast it in halves (rather than slices), and make a baba ganoush-style spread. I can't seem to get enough. so when I saw these stunning specimens, I knew I had to throw them in the mix.
They were too small to slice, so the went onto the grill cut in half. When they were soft and charred, off they came for a taste test. I found the skins to be very bitter - too bitter for my taste, even after having been heavily salted*. But once I slipped the skins off, the flesh was as delicate and tender and tasteful as any other. I commenced eating them one by one.
And that's it for eggplant for me until next season. It can't come soon enough!
*If you're not an eggplant fan because you find the flesh to be bitter: heed my advice. Salt the eggplant slices liberally in a colander and let sit/drain for an hour or so before attempting to use in any recipe (rinse the salt prior to using). The salt will leach out the bitterness, leaving you with perfectly palatable eggplant.