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3 Ways to Cook with Eggplant

Jul 31, 2010

Eggplant is a flavorful way to add variety to your usual dishes without sacrificing flavor or texture. Eggplant is actually considered a fruit and belongs to the same family as tomatoes and potatoes. In their natural state, they may have a slightly bitter flavor, but this can be remedied during the preparation of your dish. Here are some suggestions about how to cook eggplant, as well as why you should try it.

Eggplant has a smooth, rich flavor once they have been cooked, and it complements many dishes. Eggplant is versatile and can be stewed, roasted, grilled, fried, or stuffed and baked. It is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium. It is also rich in folate, magnagese, magnesium, and copper. Another benefit of eating eggplant are the antioxidants that it provides that may help protect brain cells from damage and may benefit cardiovascular health. If you find that the flavor of eggplant is too bitter for you, try salting it after you have cut it. Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse it thoroughly. Squeeze out the excess water. This will purge the eggplant of its bitterness, and it will also prevent it from absorbing excess fluids or oil.

When choosing an eggplant, look for one that has a deep, vibrant color. The cap and stem should be a bright green, and the body of the fruit should be free of any blemishes or bruises. When you press on the fruit, it should spring back to exhibit its ripeness. If your finger leaves and indentation, the eggplant is not ripe. Here are 3 ways to cook eggplant:

1. Eggplant Dressing

Prepare a box of stuffing according to the manufacturer's directions. Peel and cube the eggplant, and add it to the dressing. Cut some cubes of Velveeta and allow them to melt into the eggplant dressing mixture before serving. Add extra herbs to season the dressing according to your tastes.

2. Eggplant Lasagna

This is an excellent alternative to a common dish, as it uses eggplant slices instead of lasagna noodles. Begin by peeling and slicing an eggplant lengthwise. Lightly saute it in a pan until it is soft. Add one egg to a cup of ricotta cheese. Place 2 eggplant slices on the bottom of a pan. Add a layer of broccoli and sauteed zucchini. The next layer is diced tomatoes followed by ricotta cheese. Top the cheese with spaghetti sauce, and then layer more eggplant slices. Repeat the layers until your lasagna has reached the thickness that you desire. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the mozzarella is bubbly.

3. Breaded Eggplant

Peel the eggplant and cut it into small, thin slices. Dip the slices first in flour, then in a beaten egg, then in bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese. Drop into a small fryer or a skillet until they are golden brown. Keep in mind that purging (or sweating) the eggplant first by letting it sit in salt will prevent it from absorbing too much oil. Serve the eggplant with ranch dressing or one of your favorite dipping sauces.

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