Eggplant is a humble vegetable that took its time to gain acceptance in the kitchen due to its bitter taste. It is originally from India and was later used in China and, since the 14th century, in Italy. In ancient times they thought its bitter taste would produce leprosy and everyone avoided the vegetable. With time, other varieties where produced, less bitter and with better taste. Its nutritious properties emerged with modern times.
Eggplant is low in calories – just 30 cal per cup – and rich in fiber. It contains many minerals, like magnesium, and vitamin B complex. Nasunin, the compound responsible for its bitter taste, is also a strong antioxidant, protecting cell membranes of the brain and making eggplant ideal for growing children. Nasunin also has antitumor, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
With all of the above properties, I must remember to include eggplant to my list of recommendations when parents ask me how to prevent colds and other childhood diseases!
How to prepare Eggplant? It’s very easy!
Eggplant Recipe Ingredients: 1 eggplant, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, olive oil.
Start by cutting the eggplant in slices and placing them in water and salt for a couple of hours. It helps to reduce the bitterness. Yes, it also gets rid of part of the Nusunin, but we can’t have it all!
Drain the water and dry the slices of eggplant using paper towels and set aside. Dip them into egg first and bread crumbs second, and fry them lightly in abundant olive oil.
In an oven safe dish, place the fried eggplant first, then slices of mozzarella cheese alternating with more eggplant.
You can now pour tomato sauce on top, and place in the oven for about 30 minutes. My preference is to use fresh tomato sauce versus the canned variety.
I prepare tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, crushed, and I also add onions, garlic cloves, fresh parsley and one leek. I cook it all with some olive oil for 45 minutes and add some Italian seasoning to it.
This sauce is the base of many dishes, including my son’s favorite spaghetti, and I make a large amount to freeze for later use. Adding it to the eggplant makes it even more nutritious.