A food history story and recipe every weekday of the year.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Nineteenth Century Eggplant.
The story of the eggplant which we began yesterday,
seems worthy of continuing for a little longer – a hundred years longer,
In the first half of the nineteenth century the
fruit (botanically it is a fruit) was little used in England and America. A
century later it had found a regular place in cookery books in America, with
Britain appearing to be lagging behind.
for cookery, in its various branches, (Philadelphia, 1840) by Eliza Leslie:
Stewed Egg Plant.
The purple egg plants are better than the white
ones. Put them whole into a pot with plenty of water, and simmer them till
quite tender. Then take them out, drain them, and (having peeled off the skins)
cut them up, and mash them smooth in a deep dish. Mix with them some grated
bread, some powdered sweet marjoram, and a large piece of butter, adding a few
pounded cloves. Grate a layer of bread over the top, and put the dish into the
oven and brown it. You must send it to table in the same dish.
Egg plant is sometimes eaten at dinner, but
generally at breakfast.
To Fry Egg Plant.
Do not pare your egg plants if they are to be fried,
but slice them about half an inch thick, and lay them an hour or two in salt
and water to remove their strong taste, which to most persons is very
unpleasant. Then take them out, wipe them, and season them with pepper only.
Beat some yolk of egg; and in another dish grate a sufficiency of bread-crumbs.
Have ready in a frying-pan some lard and batter mixed, and make it boil. Then
dip each slice of egg plant first in the egg, and then in the crumbs, till both
sides are well covered ; and fry them brown, taking care to have them done all
through, as the least rawness renders them very unpalatable.
Stuffed Egg Plants.
Parboil them to take off their bitterness. Then slit
each one down the side, and extract the seeds. Have ready a stuffing made of
grated breadcrumbs, butter, minced sweet herbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and
beaten yolk of egg. Fill with it the cavity from whence you took the seeds, and
bake the egg plants in a Dutch oven. Serve them up with a made gravy poured
into the dish.