Eggplant – such a beautifully glossy, delicious and versatile vegetable, yet many Australians are uncertain how to prepare and cook it for the best results. Arthur Kotsanis – from, appropriately, aubergine’s at Adelaide Central Market – shares his insights and ideas.
We are mainly used to seeing the large purple eggplants in supermarkets; what other varieties are available in Australia?
Other varieties include white-striped eggplant, also known as graffiti eggplant, or thin gourmet eggplants, also called snake eggplants. There are about three to four varieties all together.
What can buyers currently expect to pay for eggplant, and how long does the season last?
Eggplant is currently priced between $4.99 and $5.99 per kilo. Eggplant grows best in a subtropical climate (summer and autumn).
Is bigger necessarily better? What should people look for when selecting an eggplant?
Small to medium-sized eggplants are usually nicer. Firmness of the eggplant is important to its taste.
Is it true that it should be salted before cooking to remove any bitterness? If so, how do you do this?
It depends on how they are being cooked. For example, if you are making eggplant parmigiana, we would recommend salting it and drain it to get off excess liquid. This can be done by slicing eggplants, salting both sides and placing them in a colander with a plate on top to weigh them down. If baking with eggplant, we would recommend not salting them.
What are some of your favourite ways of cooking eggplant?
We like to cook with eggplant in many different ways. These include eggplant dip; eggplant parmigiana; eggplants sliced and grilled, then marinated; and crumbed eggplant.
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