Domestic Goddess Tip: Selecting Eggplant

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Did you know that eggplants are either male or female? I was watching Alton Brown one day while he was cooking eggplant and learned this tip that really has come in handy: When you select an eggplant, try to find a male.

Why?

Because it will have fewer seeds! Why would you want to reduce the seeds in your eggplant based dish? Because they can be bitter. Not only do females have lots of seeds but the older the fruit, the more bitter the seeds.

How do you determine if your eggplant is a male or female, without cutting it open? By the blossom end. A female will usually be indented like a belly button, and oval shaped. A male will have a smoother, flatter blossom scar and be more circular. Also, younger eggplants will have fewer seeds than older eggplants.

The eggplant above is a male, and as you can see, has very few seeds. This tip USUALLY works but fair warning, I have picked out what I THOUGHT was a male, but turned out to be female. The scar on this one is more ovoid shaped, but it was flat, not indented. I have found that to be a better indicator than the actual shape.

One more tip: Allow time to salt your eggplant. Not only will it reduce the moisture, which can affect the way it cooks, but it also draws out any bitterness that might be in the fruit. I cut mine into discs or slabs, salt and let drain on a cookie cooling rack over my sink for at least 15 minutes, up to an hour. Then I lay on paper towels and press firmly to extract as much moisture as I can. Once this is done, they are ready to cook according to your recipe.


Grilled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

Grilled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

Can I say: you HAVE TO MAKE THIS?!
If you like eggplant or even if you think you don’t like eggplant: MAKE. THIS. NOW!

Farmers market is bursting with fresh, tender eggplants, especially japanese eggplant, which are sweet, silky and mild.
So DEE-lish!

This recipe was a genius inspiration by Giada De Laurentiis.

Slice japanese eggplants on the bias, lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Grill on a medium-hot grill until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes, turning half way through.
Let cool to room temperature then sprinkle fresh goat cheese and toasted pine nuts over the top.
Drizzle with a dressing made with equal parts Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive oil, whisked with freshly chopped Mint and Basil.

This is so good, be sure to make more than you think you’ll eat, cause you’ll eat more than you think you will!
Make this. You WILL thank me, trust me, it’s really THAT good!

(Serve alone for lunch or with a freshly grilled salmon or shrimp. Heck, I’d have this for breakfast!)