As white as an Eggplant? Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce

When I ate a certain vegetable in Italy, as a child, I knew very clearly, in no uncertain fashion, that it was called a ‘melanzana’.  In other words, if I said ‘melanzana’, people would understand and know what I meant.

Not so when it came to naming the very same vegetable in English.

When I ate the same vegetable in West, and then later East, Pakistan, growing up as I did in these countries on and off until the age of 13, that very same vegetable would be called ‘brinjal’.

Then, later, NOT eating that vegetable EVER while at boarding school for six years in England … I came to know it by the name of ‘aubergine’, which of course is French.

And then, later still, via American friends, I came to learn that it is also called an ‘eggplant’.

Mmmm.  Percy Bysshe Shelley said that “A single word even may be a spark of inextinguishable thought” … and hats off to his unbounded linear and non-linear thinking.  But to my more pedestrian frame of mind, the only inextinguishable thought was:

Oi! Brinjal, aubergine, eggplant … oh for goodness sake! can’t we make up our minds!  And why oh why an ‘eggplant’ for crying out aloud? the vegetable is a very dark purply plum colour! what on EARTH convinced someone to call it an ‘eggplant’? What was he or she thinking? or drinking? or … otherwise incorporating into his or her body? Search me … sigh.

And then I read an article … just over a month ago: Eureka!

And then this … take a look … :

Yes … this is a brinjal/aubergine/eggplant … and, yes, it is WHITE!

And it’s shape not unlike an egg.  Hence … an aptly, as it turns out, named EGG-plant!

I am in my 55th year and I had never seen one until last week … or even heard of its existence.  It’s so true that ‘we live, and we learn’, as Noel Coward is supposed to have said to his travel agent upon gleaning some trivial peace of information from him.  “Yes,” was the unexpected retort to this wise old adage, “and then we die and forget it all”.  But before dying, I think it not unreasonable to pose oneself the following question:

So … what does one do with a white … melanzana, brinjal, aubergine, eggplant?  I don’t know about you, but this is what I did.

Cook some garlic in olive oil, making sure it goes a golden not burnt colour …

Add some tomato sauce (passata) and a leaf or two of basil … and cook for about 15 minutes, adding salt and sugar to taste.

While the tomato sauce is bubbling away, get hold of a few eggs and beat them up in a bowl.

Cut up the augbergine/eggplant into thick slices and plop each one into the beaten egg first …

And then into another bowl containing plenty of bread crumbs.  Make sure the slice is breaded on both sides and press firmly so that the bread crumbs attach themselves properly to the slice.

Cook the slices of breaded aubergine/eggplant in plenty of very hot olive oil, turning them over once only.  Cook them in small batches and drain them on paper towels.

Arrange the crispy slices of breaded aubergine/eggplant on a serving dish.  Put a dollop of the cooked tomato sauce on each slice …


Then sprinkle a spoolful of freshly grated parmesan cheese over each slice … and serve!

It’s a good job that we can’t talk with our mouths full (that is, not unless we give in to being uncouth) … that way, we can just enjoy this delicious vegetable without worrying whether it’s a brinjal …. or an aubergine … or an eggplant.

If you want to know more about this vegetable, however, here is a link to a very good article: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/chronicaeggplant.pdf

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About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
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One Response to As white as an Eggplant? Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce

  1. Tom Shiffman says:

    Hey Jo, enjoying your blog, too bad I am not getting enough time to cook from it, not much time these days. Please send me an email, I have a question to ask.
    Thanks
    Tom Shiffman

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