I love aubergine (eggplant). Any way you serve it to me, I am pretty much guaranteed to love it. So imagine my dismay when my two elder children pushed away their dinner plates with looks of horror and disgust the other night, when I served up a delicious, homemade melanzane parmigiana (loosely based on this one from Martha S) and using my homemade simple tomato sauce.
This was the third time I had tried to get them to consume this marvellous vegetable. My previous attempts included using slices of it on a pizza (along with slices of courgette/zucchini, fresh cherry tomatoes, slices of mozzarella and lots of shredded basil) and as a side dish, simply fried with garlic and lemon juice. They were having none of it.
How can this be? What is not to like? It has such a wonderful, creamy texture and is visually pleasing with its deep, majestic purple skin. And it tastes delish any way you cook it: fried, baked, grilled, roasted, mushed up or left intact, hot or cold! Am I raising culinary heathens?? And it is so good for you too: as this article on BBC Good Food says, they are “full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre and [have] the potential to lower cholesterol and help manage weight.”
I have previously blogged about hidden vegetables and it would seem that the same treatment is in order for the aubergine, until, that is, their palates become a little more sophisticated. So out went the call: does anyone have any sure-fire recipes for or methods of preparing aubergine that kids will eat? Below are the responses:
- “Cut in half, roast until soft, mix in just a litle garlic, salt and pepper, ground coriander. Eat warm on crackers or bread. Courtesy of Jamie.” (Possibly based on this recipe for Sicilian caponata).
- “Just peel the skin off and make sure you cut it up before they see what it is…”
- “For us I roast them first to get the good flavor. But for kids: egg, breaded and fried! Do what I learned from a Turkish friend: slice eggplant, salt, wait 30 minutes while the oxalic acid sweats out, wipe and then fry.”
- “Take your eggplant (aubergine), try to pick the skinniest one possible, it will have less seeds. Peel the skin off, slice about a1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick. Lightly salt both sides place in a colanader either in fridge or sink for half an hour. Rinse the salt off and dry with paper towels (this removes the bitterness). Prepare small bowl with one or two eggs and a little milk (depending on how many people) and one bowl of bread crumbs with a plate to place the breaded eggplant on. Just dip them in the egg once then the breadcrumbs on both sides once. Stack them on the clean plate until you are ready to fry. Use a vegetable or other oil that can take higher heat ( not olive oil ). Shallow fry the eggplant at about medium to med-high, making absolutely sure the oil is hot before you put them in, they should be bubbling (simmering) the entire time they are in the frying pan. When I first put them in I poke them with a fork so they cook through the middle, and I keep the oven warm to place them while I cook the next batch. You may have to add more oil as you go because they suck up oil, and don’t season until after you cook. You can tell they are done of course when they are brown, but also when a fork will insert without resistance. Uncle L likes to melt cheese on his or add pepper relish. If the kids have a cheese and relish they like, melt the cheese on then put the relish on at the table. Good luck!”
Needless to say, I am going to be trying these out. If you have a yummy aubergine recipe, please do post it as a comment below.