17 Jul2005

As I was leaving the Salcedo Market yesterday morning I saw the most stunning atal1freshly picked eggplants I have ever seen in Manila. They had two varieties in boxes on the ground… the longer Chinese or Japanese variety that had this spectacularly even light “aubergine” color and these cool fat round eggplants that are closer to the European varieties. What was really impressive about the Asian eggplants was their heft, freshness, consistency of color and their totally unblemished skins (which I hope means they were raised under netting rather than seriously pumped with insecticides!) If you put these against any other eggplant in the market that day you would see a serious difference in quality. My novice guess is that they came from original seeds as well as opposed to seeds from previous plants which tend to mutate and colors to vary over time. I had a post on eggplants earlier which had already shown five different kinds but none of them looked as good as these.

I asked the people manning the stall where these eggplants were from and they said Tagaytay. atal4Still curious at the source, they finally let on that they were grown on someone’s private farm lot at the Leisure Farms development. This is one of several developments where folks buy these million or so peso lots, then grow eggplants and lettuce on them so that they feel like mini-hacienderos with their personal vegetable or kitchen gardens. When they have excess produce, they sell them to the public. Well, this home gardener should be proud, the eggplants were absolutely terrific. At PHP50 a kilo, they were more expensive than other local eggplants but they looked far far better and tasted good too. If he had to put in the cost of money on his lot, I am certain he would have charged more for the eggplants. I got bamboozled into buying western eggplants the other day for PHP120 a kilo and I am kicking myself for not restraining myself. It’s just that rainy season eggplants tend to get really icky.

I figured out an immediate use for the atal3Asian eggplants – they were in a pan just three hours after I purchased them. Recipe to follow in the next post. I am a little beffudled by the rounder and more western eggplants. Maybe I will slice them thin and coat them in tempura batter and deep fry. Or slice them thick and make a small eggplant parmigiana. I don’t want to mix them with the ones I bought the other day so that I can see if they do indeed taste any better! At any rate, these were a great find at the market.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. bogchief says:

    Seeing the crayola-like color purple reminded me of Grimace. Could he be a European eggplant? Another theory for you, Marketman.

    Jul 17, 2005 | 12:10 pm

     
  2. joey says:

    Ooooh! I have always wondered who (or what) Grimace was…The eggplants look great and are one of my favorite vegetables. Although someone told me they hardly have any nutritional value (I hope that’s not true!) I love them dearly. The eggplant “chips” idea (batter-dipped and fried) sounds good for those chubby ones…I have had a dish at Spanish restaurant in Makati (Gaudi, in Greenbelt) that serves similar eggplant “chips” (although made with the smaller eggplants) drizzled with molasses (or any kind of sweet syrup would do I suppose)…I think it is called Berenjenas a la Malaguena (not sure). It’s quite a stellar combination.

    Jul 18, 2005 | 3:44 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Bogchief…I wouldn’t stretch out that far…grimace to eggplant link, that is. To my knowledge no eggplant in any of McDonald’s food offerings…heehee

    Wow, eggplant with something sweet rather than savory. Gotta try me some of that!

    Jul 18, 2005 | 3:02 pm

     
  4. Chris says:

    Those eggplants look great! My favorite recipe is also the simplest, just saute some garlic and onion in olive oil, being careful not to let them brown but they should be cooked enough to have aqcuired a mildly sweet taste and a soft, silky texture. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the eggplants to the pan (eggplants should be sliced on the diagonal, about 1/5in. thickness) and cook until it starts to brown, put back the reserved onions and garlic, add a generous dash of balsamic vinegar. Turn away from the pan because the quickly evaporating vinegar is quite nasty on your nose :) Season with salt and pepper, then at the last minute, add some freshly torn basil leaves. I swear this will transport you to Italy when you taste it!

    Jul 19, 2005 | 4:40 am

     
  5. Gigi Rodriguez says:

    The produce is from Woodberry Farms and you can email me at gsa@yahoo.com to know more about our eggplants and for your needs.

    Jul 22, 2005 | 8:38 pm

     
  6. Josie Soriano says:

    Had the pleasure of buying these eggplants and it has become
    a habit for me to look for the stall. I had been to all
    groceries and even in Divisoria stall of vegtables and had
    never seen anything like this. I hope that they will conti-
    nue to produce these eggplans all year round.

    Jul 25, 2005 | 7:10 am

     
 

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