I have processed eggplant sous vide before, just to see. MEH. And I am not the only person who doesn’t really care about eggplant. Most people won’t even bother to deny disliking it, it just doesn’t go with our culinary sensibilities. The black skin, and do you eat the seeds or what? When it’s raw, it’s cardboard, and when it’s cooked, it’s soggy cardboard. Eggplant Parm isn’t too bad if you encase it in a thick layer of crispy breading. A ton of tomato sauce and bread, some cheese, who cares if there’s eggplant in it or not?
So, I’m not sure why I bought that eggplant the other day. They’re in season, they look like they should be good, reasonably priced. I saw a thing on tv where the Italian lady roasted it into that babaganouche kind of stuff, so I thought I would play with it. Actually, it turned out pretty good. Simplicity is the cure for things that are awful.
Smoke’em if you got’em…
I slashed it and smoked it @180F/82C, but, honestly, it was pretty inconsequential. I consoled myself with the knowledge that the pork that shared the smoker with the eggplant came out good.
THAT looks like an EGG?
The next day, I cut the eggplant in half and finished “roasting” it in a pan, it gets soft. Then, I started separating the flesh from the skin. Now, I can tell you, not everybody finds the skin distasteful. I can’t tell if they think it’s just not any worse than the eggplant itself, or if it’s just too much trouble to separate it.
If you peel it before cooking, it just seems even weirder. The texture of the skin is not very different from the flesh and the seeds, the whole thing is what it is. We endeavored to persevere.
Things like this are usually better the less you do with them, so I tried to follow that credo. I was glad I only bought one.
Hey, I only work here
Eventually I was able to coarsely chop the stringy stuff, which is what the recipes usually tell you to do. I drizzled it with some EVOO, that can’t hurt, and a little lemon. No salt yet. In the spirit of adventure, I pushed it into the ring and vacuumed it, again, just to see.
When you vacuum things that are really soft, they tend to collapse in the middle, and that’s pretty much what happened. Okay, now we know. I pushed it back into a disk with my trusty spoon, and forged on. Feta is a standard middle eastern thing, so I sprinkled. Chopped parsley, again, well, I like that green.
Now for the chi-chi
The French Gray Salt (Gris), all the rage. Some heirloom tomato chopped up, some yellow roasted peppers, we’re doing the best we can. I made a sort of Middle Eastern flatbread with black sesame and Black Lava salt, ooh, la la. Actually pretty good, bread is a thing. Lemon wedge, of course.
If we didn’t know what it really was, we would want to know what it really was.
What do I know?
There’s always eggplant in the stores, so somebody is buying it. I don’t know if anybody actually eats it. I can stand it, but I wouldn’t serve it to guests unless I was yanking a chain or honoring a request. Advice: Lots of EVOO, and even MORE lemon juice and coarse salt of any color. The feta helps.