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What’s coming up: Eggplant

The Free Lance-Star food section and the Front Burner blog are reviving a popular feature from years past. Each week we will feature a vegetable or fruit that is in season in our area and offer tips on selection and cooking. Here on the blog, please feel free to offer your own serving suggestions for these seasonal delights!

This week’s feature: Eggplant

When it’s fresh here: mid July through early September

Fun fact: Early Europeans believed eggplant caused insanity.

Pick and choose:Smaller eggplant usually have fewer seeds, and the seeds can add a bitter flavor; however, large eggplant are sometimes easier to use for layering in casseroles and grilling for sandwiches. No matter the size, look for firm eggplant without soft spots or blistery skin.

Quick serving ideas:

  • Slice eggplant and marinate in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, black pepper and salt  (or alternatively: sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper). Grill and keep in the fridge all week to use on pizzas, in quesadillas and on sandwiches.
  • Roast eggplant whole in a 400-degree oven until the flesh is soft. Scoop out the flesh and puree with roasted red peppers, goat cheese and salt and pepper. This can be used as a dip, a sandwich spread or a pizza or pasta sauce.
  • Add to your favorite stir-fry recipe, or cube, season, roast and use to fill out a pasta or rice salad.

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