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This sweet ode and praise to the versatile little eggplant stole my heart.  The rich, meaty, purpley produce product is one of my favorites to prepare in a variety of ways – however, I am aware that it can be also instill one of those “love or hate” relationships in many flexitarians.

Praising the Versatile Eggplant – NYTimes.com.

Eggplant is often called “meaty,” by which we mean what, exactly? Substantial? Versatile? Flavorful?

All of the above, for sure (as well as tough and chewy on occasion; not necessarily a bad thing). But the comparison is no more fair to the aubergine than it would be to call a piece of beef “eggplanty.”

Eggplant stands alone, a vegetable like no other. Actually, because eggplant is a fruit, like the tomato, to which it’s closely related, it’s safer to label it a food like no other, beloved and appreciated worldwide and deserving of respect, not as a meat substitute but as a treasure in itself.

It isn’t a competition, but if you asked me the old desert-island question, I’d take eggplant before any meat I could think of (and, yes, that includes bacon). It would be ridiculous to claim that eggplant can outperform meat, but it’s not a stretch to see it as useful as any one cut of meat.

eggplantsammy

I enjoy a good meaty serving of eggplant in so many ways.  A favorite method I devised years ago, around the time when I invented “the wrap” sandwich (inside joke, but, yes, I single-handedly invented “the wrap”), involved thinly slicing a little Japanese eggplant, brushing with oil and seasoning with salt and pepper before broiling or grilling.  Topped with a bit of sauteed radicchio, perhaps some caramelized fennel, and heaven-on-earth Manchego cheese, this sammy (or even left as a salad) will leave you on Cloud 9.

14 thoughts on “Meaty and Mighty

  1. Really like the butchering diagram of the eggplant, but count me in the “hate” category. Actually, it’s not so much hate, as it is revulsion. Eggplant makes me vomit. No. Really. Actually vomit.

    1. Marc feels the same way about eggplant…except I am creative enough to “sneak” it in at times. It sounds like when it is “snuck” in you can handle it too! Sneaky, sneaky. Baby Ganoush! (…and not just the author :-)).

        1. Baby Ganesh! The Hindu culture is entirely fascinating.
          src=”http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/1400_1499/bhakti/familial/babyadored.jpg” alt=”Baby Ganesh” />

  2. As I was saying…I think it had to do with some eggplant parmigiana that my great aunt once made for us on a teenage Easter Sunday dinner. My uncle got to drinking (gin and tonics in South San Francisco) and got to criticizing us kids and then

  3. [Am I limited on the number of words I can use here? It sure seems that way.] And then he laid into my mom. Our family got up, got in the car, and got on the road back to Santa Cruz. For me it was the second time I left the table that paschal meal:

  4. the first was when I arose to excuse myself and wretch up the main course. All that being said, I like baba ganoush. (I’ve read all his books!)

  5. This is one veggie I simply cannot do. I can tolerate Japanese eggplant the most in a Thai curry, but that’s the extent of it. Even then, I pick at it. Eggplant generally doesn’t make me feel good either. I don’t have a nightshade issue (that I know of — tomatoes are fine), but eggplant and bell peppers are not good friends of mine! Oh, the butchering diagram is awesome, by the way!

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