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Ingredient

Italian Eggplant

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What is it?

Italian eggplant is similar in flavor and texture to the more familiar Western, or globe, eggplant. But this Italian variety is smaller, lobed, and often shaped like a teardrop, with dark purple skin and green leaves.

Don’t have it?

You can substitute globe eggplant, but preferably smaller ones.

How to choose:

At the market, look for eggplant with smooth, shiny skin that’s unwrinkled. The fruit should feel firm and spring back slightly when you touch it. Try to find an eggplant with a stem that looks moist, as if recently cut.

How to prep:

Eggplant is one vegetable for which slight undercooking will not work. It must be completely cooked through until it’s meltingly soft, smooth, and creamy; only then will it be flavorful on its own, as well as receptive to the other flavors with which you’ll blend it. It takes well to pan-frying, oven-roasting, grilling, and stir-frying.

How to store:

It’s best to use eggplant when it’s very fresh, but it will keep for two or three days in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

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