Large, dark-purple, round eggplants have been with us for years, really our only eggplant.
And, a good one was tricky to buy and cook well. It could have too many seeds. It could be very bitter. Its skin was tough, and it was generally a chore to work with. Part of this was slicing it, salting it heavily, letting it stand a good period of time before rinsing to salt away and preparing to fry it and keeping it from blotting in too much oil for taste sake as well as health sake.
Now, comes good news! Not only are we seeing eggplants which are small, round, spotted and even white, but we now have a new favorite, the gracefully-slender, strikingly-vivid purple Japanese eggplant. Best of all, our new eggplants cook more quickly, have fewer seeds, sport a thinner skin and have a more pleasing flavor. No need to soak in needless salt to remove its bitter taste. It’s gone. They absorb less oil and are also healthier for us. At last, we have a win-win eggplant.
There are many ways to cook it — try grilling, sautéing or roasting. Its tendency toward absorbency allows it to be enhanced with olive oil, citrus juice even balsamic vinegar. Other interesting combinations are soy sauce, miso broth and other Asian sauces.
While we have several different eggplants, all of them are actually a fruit, and members of the nightshade family as are tomatoes, potatoes and peppers.
Japanese eggplants are low in saturated fat, low in salt and low in calories. They are rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, fiber and manganese.
Japanese eggplant has a shorter shelf life than its heavier, darker cousins. If it was quite firm when you bought it, you may expect it to keep for no more than a week.
Below are foodsites with Japanese eggplant recipes.