Oh white eggplant
How I adore thee
With your sweet flesh
Made soft upon cooking
With your white skin
Well, never mind then…I’ll stick to brushes to produce my art.
One thing that I absolutely love about the farmers market in Florida (and probably anywhere? Most of my experience with farmers markets has been in Florida…besides in Turkey where I followed my mother-in-law’s lead and didn’t really look around much) are the EGGPLANTS! I am a HUGE fan of eggplants, but the ones in the grocery store do not do justice to the wonder that is this lovely vegetable (technically fruit, I guess, since it has seeds).
move over, boring purple eggplant! Guess who is coming to dinner?!
oh yeah…that’s the stuff.
So you may be wondering, “what’s wrong with the grocery store’s purple eggplant?” Well, nothing, I guess…if you want to throw it in the oven. I learned a lot about eggplant in Turkey. For instance, our traditional purple eggplants are called kozleme eggplant, meaning they are solely for roasting (in their culinary tradition). I mean, I’ve made mousaka with them, fried them, boiled them, what have you…but white eggplants and “japanese” eggplants are on another level.
First, let’s talk about white eggplants. They are much sweeter (in my opinion) than the others, and they are the perfect size for slicing into round pieces and frying up for a good mousaka. They are also delicious roasted and stewed (recipe at the bottom of this post!).
Japanese eggplants (i.e. the long skinny ones), are similarly great for stewing, but I prefer them roasted. So what is the difference between purple eggplants and japanese? The Japanese eggplants are much more silky after roasting, and you can roast them whole after stabbing some vent holes in them with a fork- locking in the flavor. They also don’t need to sweat like most other eggplants.
Anyway, without further ado- a recipe for white eggplants that we call “eggplant sulu” Sulu means with water in turkish (su= water, lu= with). Yeah, we are so clever. Go find yourself a few white eggplants at your local farmers market and enjoy! Now is the perfect time to find them (Just fyi, they are sooo expensive at a grocery store)!
3-4 small white eggplants, cubed
1 large onion, diced
4 medium peppers (mild, like sweet banana peppers), diced
2 tomatoes, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
dollop olive oil
- cube eggplants and salt them, allowing them to sweat in a colander (over a dish or bowl) for 30min to an hour.
- Meanwhile, cut up onions and peppers. Add to a pot (a BIG pot!) with olive oil and some salt. Cook over medium heat until translucent.
- Add tomato paste, rinsed eggplant, and tomato, mixing well. Let sautee (covered) on medium heat for about half an hour or until eggplants are somewhat soft.
- Add water (room temp or cold) to the pot, filling until the eggplant is just covered. Sprinkle in spices as desired (I use only 1/4 tsp cumin and paprika, more pepper and salt) and add minced garlic. Simmer on medium low until completely cooked.
Afiyet olsun 🙂 !