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Friday, October 21, 2011

Your Seasonal Produce Guide: Chinese and Japanese Eggplants

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 8:30 AM

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A weekly series on what to do with your farmers' market impulse buys and CSA box surprises.

Chinese and Japanese eggplants are smaller and lighter in color than their American and Italian cousins. Once cooked, they have a sweet flavor and a meaty texture. The skin is thin and edible.

How do I know I have a good one? Look for eggplants that are firm with smooth skin. Avoid bruises or soft spots, both indications of being overripe.

How do I cook it? Don't worry about peeling or salting these types of eggplants. The skin is more palatable than larger varieties and the flesh is not as bitter. Stir frying is a popular way to prepare, but consider grilling for something different. Slice in half the long way and brush with a mixture of equal parts miso paste and vegetable oil. Grill for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with rice or soba noodles.

Marla Simon is a San Francisco-based chef, food stylist, and food writer.

Follow her on twitter at @Marla_Simon

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