Eggplants are a favorite of my vegetable garden. They come in an amazing variety of colors, shapes, and sizes — many more than you’ll ever see in the supermarket.
Eggplant is courteous, as vegetables go. Once a plant gets started, it produces one or two vegetables at a time all summer long — never overwhelming the kitchen with too much produce.
I’m growing four different varieties this year. Today I’m displaying the one that makes the prettiest plant. It’s called ‘Orient Express.’ The stems and leaf veins are purple. Isn’t it beautiful? It produces long dark purple eggplants.
A substance called nasunin has been isolated from that deep purple pigment. Nasunin, a member of the anthocyanin category, is a powerful antioxidant. Studies show that it literally eats up free radicals, rogue molecules in your body that can cause serious damage to your cells and your DNA and are partly responsible for aging. p. 38
Of course, the purple in eggplant is only skin dip. Bowden acknowledges that “eggplant isn’t a nutritional superstar,” but since it’s low in calories and high in fiber, it fits well in any diet.
As for the cooking part, eggplant usually goes into my veggie pasta dish. I sliced this eggplant into coins and roasted them with a medley of other summer vegetables from my CSA box and the Farmers Market.
I threw the vegetables into a skillet with chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh herbs from my garden, a sauce I made up on the fly, and caramelized onions. Then I tossed in cooked pasta and swiss chard (my garden is overproducing swiss chard — so it goes in everything!). I served the veggie pasta topped with freshly grated cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Veggie pasta, in endless variety, is a dish that I make twice a week this time of year to make good use of an abundance of summer vegetables.
What is your favorite way to eat eggplant?
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