Cooking with Aubergines
This page is intended
to introduce you to a very versatile vegetable: the aubergine.
You can find out
about the varieties of aubergine, how to select
and buy them and finally different ways of cooking
The aubergine is also
known in America as the eggplant. It is widely used as a vegetable throughout
the Mediterranean and Asia.
can be quite small and their shape varies from thin and long to almost
an oval shape. Their skin colour can range from white through lilacs and
purples to the deep aubergine colour that we most commonly associate with
the vegetable. The variegated versions can be streaked in two contrasting
There is little difference
in flavour between these varieties and the flesh should always be an untainted
When buying an aubergine
its skin should look shiny and unblemished. The flesh should be firm to
the touch. Avoid any vegetables with bruising or marks on the skin. In
particular look around the stem to see any signs of discolouring or withering.
Take care when picking
up an aubergine because its stem might be prickly. The prickles are harmless
but they might give you a scratch or pierce your skin.
Methods for cooking
Aubergines need to be
cooked, they are not a very palatable vegetable in the raw state. They
also do not lend themselves to being boiled, which leaves them as a rather
pallid, soggy mass.
To fry an aubergine
it needs to be cut into fairly thin slices, say no more than a quarter
of an inch thick. Pour a little good quality oil (olive is best) into a
heavy bottomed frying pan and put over a medium heat. Add the aubergines
when the oil is sizzling hot and fry on both sides until the flesh is soft
all the way through.
Aubergines are ideal
for grilling. They should be cut into rounds or sliced lengthwise and brushed
with a good quality oil to prevent them from drying up when grilled. Place
under a hot grill. Turn the slices to brown on both sides.
This method can also
be used on a barbecue or griddle.
The most common way
of cooking an aubergine is probably to add it as an ingredient to a casserole.
The aubergine can be left in quite big chunks when cooked like this. Baby
aubergines can even be cooked whole, but they are usually best if cut with
several deep incisions first, to ensure that they are cooked all the way
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