A few ideas for eating your eggplant, item in the medium box this week. For those who didn't get eggplant this week, it'll be available for the next little while and will certainly appear in the boxes again!
Eggplant Parmesan is often suggested, but if you don't feel like the whole production, try simple fried eggplant. Bread your eggplant slices (seasoned cornmeal is delicious), wetting or dipping in beaten egg to coat first. I like medium-thick slices, as I think the best fried eggplant is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Fry in oil, flipping once or twice, until nicely browned. When I make a large batch of fried eggplant, I like to freeze some for the winter, as it heats up really well in the oven.
My favourite way to eat eggplant at the moment is caramelized with onions and/or garlic. Eggplant is like mushrooms, and will absorb a lot of fat, so be liberal with the oil (and/or butter). I usually fry the onions and garlic for a minute before adding thin slices of eggplant. Once all of the slices have lost their raw look (and started to absorb the oil), continue to cook, stirring occasionally, on a medium-low heat until the whole dish is browned and reduced, anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on the heat and how much eggplant you put in the pan. Lightly salted, I can eat a plateful of this. I sometimes add some curry spices (curry powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and fenugreek is my go-to combination) and a chopped tomato or canned diced tomato (our own).
Many people suggest salting eggplant before cooking as a way to reduce bitterness. To be honest, I've never tried this, simply because I've never found farm-fresh eggplant to be bitter! I like to pick tender fruit that is not over-large, which might have something to do with it.