I was introduced to eggplant by an elderly neighbor when I was just a teen , she would hire to me help her do a few things that she could no longer do at the age of eighty five, she would buy two plants a year and plant them in her garden. When she got more than she could eat she always shared with neighbors. I was one of those neighbors.
Most years I do plant a garden and the past few years I have added eggplant. One year I grew the plants from seed and had an entire row, around twenty plants! and I have to give most of them away because I could not eat that many. And I had no idea how to freeze them or can them, truth is I still don`t. This year I bought two plants and I still have more than I can eat!
Black beauty is the name of the plants I bought. They grow fast and do not mind the dry conditions that we have from time to time in central Alabama . They are dark purple and grow in a teardrop shape, fat at the bottom and skinny toward the top.
I have learned to cook them a few different ways and each way taste different than the recipe before. I really have only followed one recipe, then I adjusted that one to my own taste.
If frying the eggplant. I peel the eggplant and slice it round 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick and place it in water as I do this because it tend to turn brown when the air hits it. I dip each slice in flour and put into a skillet of hot grease and brown each side , salt and black pepper added as I flip them.
Next is my version of what I ate at a Greek restaurant in Atlanta Ga., One day each month when I was working as a driver I would eat there inside the expo center at the Greek counter , the same meal every month, that is how good the dish was.
I slice a small onion and bell pepper into strips and fry them in olive oil . Next I peel and dice a eggplant and add it to the onion and pepper, Add a helping spoon full of diced garlic ( I use the jar kind if I don`t have fresh ) and I cook for about a minute. Then I add a can of diced tomatoes. I let this mixture simmer for 10 minutes or until the eggplant is tend but not mush. Salt and Black pepper to taste. When I serve I sprinkle on Parmesan cheese . Serve with a warm flat bread.
That is my story on eggplant and I am sticking to it!
By Andria Perry
Photo By Andria Perry