Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eggplant: The Purple Wonder

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eggplant: The Purple Wonder

Article excerpt

YOU DON'T NEED to heat up the kitchen to cook eggplant. Conventionally, it would take 35 to 40 minutes at 425 degrees to soften the eggplant for a recipe like the eggplant dip below. But as you can see, five to seven minutes is all that is required in the microwave.

Ratatouille, a vegetable stew from southern France, would normally require 30 minutes to steam and bubble on top of the stove, but the microwave version takes between 15 and 20 minutes.

Eggplant slices, quick-cooking by almost any means, are often salted and allowed to stand for 30 minutes before cooking to drain out the excess water. But for microwave purposes, those juices help steam the eggplant, and they allow for the reduction of oil in the recipe.

Remember that if you have refrigerated the eggplant, it is best to set it out at room temperature before cooking. Otherwise, it will take a little longer to cook than the recipes indicate. Eggplants do best when stored in humid conditions at about 50 degrees. For the times when you must chill them to prevent decay, just refrigerate them for two days in the front of the refrigerator, where they won't be as cold.

APPETIZER EGGPLANT DIP

1 medium eggplant

1 tablespoon olive or other oil

2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup pine nuts or toasted sesame seeds

Pierce eggplant in a few places with stainless-steel fork. Place on paper towel or microwaveproof plate. Microwave, uncovered, on High (100 percent) power until eggplant is tender and collapses, 5 to 7 minutes. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

When eggplant is cool, cut in half lengthwise; scoop out flesh. Discard skins. Place pulp in blender, food processor or electric mixer bowl. Add oil, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and pepper. Puree or mix until smooth. …

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