Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Cook Eggplant So That It Is Neither Too Strong nor Ill Prepared

From Martino of Cuomo's Art of Cooking, p.118 in the 2005 Jeremy Parzen translation:
Cut them into quarters and peel carefully, like a pear. Then bring them to a boil in a little water with salt; and when the water begins to boil, add the eggplant and boil for two Lord's Prayers; then remove and dry. Dredge in flour and fry like fish and when they have been fried, drain off the oil, leaving a little bit in the pan with the eggplant. Then take a clove of garlic and crush with a quarter of the eggplant. Then take a little of the oregano that is used to top anchovies, crushed with garlic with a bit of bread, saffron, pepper, and salt, and thin these things with verjuice; or, if the verjuice is too strong, with some water. Then add all these things together in the pan and cook with the eggplant for a little while. Then put on a platter and serve.

My Redaction:

4 1-lb. eggplants
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp oregano
12 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup fresh bread torn into small crumbs
1/4 cup verjuice or wine vinegar
Saffron (optional)
Salt and pepper

Quarter and peel the eggplant. Parboil in salted water for about a minute, working in small batches. Wrap in paper towels and leave to dry for 20-30 minutes. Cover a flat space in more paper towels for once the eggplant is fried, spread flour on a plate, and heat oil in a frying pan. Again working in small batches, dredge the eggplant quarters liberally in flour and fry until well browned on all sides, then place on the paper towels. Pour off excess oil, or if your oil has significant flour sediment in it pour off all oil and add 2 T fresh to the pan. Combine oregano, garlic, bread, verjuice, salt, pepper, and saffron, and sauté in the pan until browned. Place eggplant on a platter and dress with the garlic mixture. Makes 12 servings.


The main modification I have made is to cook the dressing as a separate component, because of the mass of eggplant involved and the shortage of giant pans. If you wish to follow Martino's instructions you could portion out the dressing mixture and work in batches re-frying the eggplant with it.

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