To be honest, I had a tough day yesterday. Evie is teething and miserable and I felt like I wasn't nailing the whole work/life balance thing. I felt like I was being both a bad worker and a bad mother all day. And then I got home and had this blog post staring me in the face. I had yet to cook with fairy tale eggplants and the last thing I felt like doing was cooking, let alone cooking something I had never cooked before. I put Evie to bed, poured myself a glass of wine and started looking on my phone for something to order-in. After scrolling and scrolling, and not finding anything that I wanted, I went back to the kitchen and pulled out the tiny, bright purple eggplants, took a gulp of wine, and got to work. After I finished, I texted Jamie right away to tell her how happy I was that I pulled myself together and made a dish with the fairy tale eggplants. They were so delicious and so, so, so easy to cook with.
I love the flavor of regular ol' Italian eggplants, but they are so large and cumbersome that I almost never cook with them at home. My eggplant parmesan always falls short of restaurant quality and I spend more time trying to wrangle the vegetable than enjoying it. Enter fairy tale eggplants - they are these cute, mini, and adorably named eggplants that have the same flavor of Italian eggplants without dealing with all the hard work that comes along with them. "Fairy Tale" or "Japanese" eggplants hail from Asia, are usually in season from late July - October, and are less seedy and less bitter than the large Italian eggplants we are all used to. Not only are they beautifully colored, petite and adorable, but they are incredibly easy to add to a dish like an antipasto salad, cous-cous or pasta. They are found at farmers markets around this time of year, but I've also found them in my local grocery stores.
To cook them, simply cut them in half lengthwise, and sautée them in a pan in oil for 2-3 minutes or until they get brown and caramelized. I added the caramelized eggplants to a homemade marinara sauce, letting them simmer in the sauce while my pasta cooked. You can also cook them on a grill or roast them. Unlike the Italian counterparts, these guys cook quickly and become tender almost right away. Again, so quick, so easy.
Here are four recipes featuring fairy tale eggplants that I want to try out before the season ends:
- Quinoa Tabbouleh & Fairy Tale Eggplants by Blue Apron
- Roasted Eggplant Salad with Lentils and Tangy Miso Dressing by Trendland
- Eggplant Parmigiana Pasta by the Jewels of New York
- Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Pomegranate by Savory Simple with Jennifer Farley
(all photos except for the recipe photos, jamie grill photography)