battle 6–day 2–eggplant

Eggplant, take two.

I took another stab at eggplant last night with eggplant parmesan at our favorite Italian restaurant, Bambinelli’s. It’s a family-owned place with tacky décor and a gross number of photos of the Bambinellis and their kids and famous Italians and the Sopranos, which gives me the impression they take being Italian seriously, so I felt good entrusting them with contributing this fundamental Italian dish to the project. But just in case, I ordered another combo meal of sausage, chicken and eggplant parmesan with shells and cheese. It was an absurd, excessive amount of food, but after the portabella burger debacle, I can’t take any chances. I don’t want to go hungry.

bambinelli's

While we were waiting for the food to arrive Naysayer Jon warned me that eggplant is another one of those vegetables that vegetarians like to trick you into believing tastes like meat, but really, it tastes like eggplant. Then I started to worry. Because of the portabella burger debacle. I had at least covered my bases so I wouldn’t starve, but I still have to win, and disliking a vegetable or not being able to add it to my diet permanently means I don’t win. I fretted.

Miss Server Lady brought out my combo meal (which they call the DaVinci Code or some shit) and I poked around my plate again, trying to identify what was what. (I swear, I did actually eat before this project, but the food really was all beige…and I am a seriously good beige food connoisseur.) Once I had established what I was pretty sure was eggplant, I closed my eyes, held my nose, and…

So is it just me or does eggplant have no taste? Or texture. Or anything. I couldn’t really say for sure that the blob on my plate covered in sauce and cheese was anything more than a vehicle for sauce and cheese.

I’m really torn on how to call it. Is this just what you do with eggplant? Cover it, stuff it, fry it until you can’t taste it? I mean, I didn’t vomit on myself so I would call that a relative success, but I still don’t think I would ever say, oh yeah, eggplant, mmmmm, my favorite! I’m not calling it yet. I won’t be home tomorrow night so I’ll try again Friday with grilled home-growns. Friday, take three. And Saturday I’m frying them bitches.


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9 thoughts on “battle 6–day 2–eggplant

  1. I have to say that I agree with you – eggplant is definitely one of those that I don’t think has much flavor or texture. But, anything that will hide under cheese and sauce and not ruin it…well it’s okay in my book.

  2. Atlanta can’t do Eggplant Parm. Ask Naysayer Randy. He took me someplace for it years back & I almost cried when seeing what I got served. It’s not real and don’t judge a glorious dish by a bastardization. In fact, that bastardization is the reason I started learned to make real eggplant parm & learned to cook in general. (Naysayer Randy, Patterson thanks you for this one!) I promise; done right it could be excellent. (And by excellent I mean it’s so fried & covered in tomato & cheese goodness that you don’t really notice it’s there.)

  3. Julie, you are duper cute. Just sayin’.

    I enjoy eggplant but I find it kind of hard to cook at home. If you want to saute it, after you cut it up you must sprinkle it with salt and let it sit in a colander in the sink for ~30 minutes. Then you squeeze it really hard in a towel so all the juices come out. I have no idea why you must do this, but someone told me to do it and it was much better that time. And buy the Japanese or Chinese eggplant–the long skinny ones. Those are better.

    I remember Figo Pasta having a yummy eggplant dish if you want to try it again. Mmmm I miss Atlanta.

  4. Nah, you’re all off. Thai eggplant sauteed with approximately one ton of garlic and basil is one of the best things ever. No salting, squeezing, whatever. Yum.

  5. Eggplant…..not cool. I tried one of those eggplant burgers cuz some veggie friend and her man were grilling them up like burgers. I heard that usual bull of ‘it tastes the same!’ but in reality, it was like a lukewarm lilypad sitting inbetween two sides of a bun. Disgusting. You are a brave lady. Start carrying stash-sized bags of nuts in your pockets! Stay alive Julie!

  6. The DaVinci Code? Ugh, the south has no clue about Italian food. Sorry, South. You don’t.

    Whenever you guys get your butts up here to Boston, I’ll take you to a real Italian restaurant. One that you wouldn’t even know was there, in back of a convenient store. For real. So good. They even have rabbit and ostrich on the menu (if you are into eating anything that once had a pulse…like me.)

    New York, Boston, Chicago… These places know Italian food. Not Atlanta.

  7. Elwood, I want to go to this Italian place in a 7-11. It sounds quite, if I may, rad.

    And yes, I am glad that Mindy learned to make eggplant parm. It is fantabulous and I would bathe in it, if allowed.

    For some reason, an Italian place that has pictures of the Soprano’s on the wall does not sound to me like a place I would describe as “Authentic”. Actually, I’m sure of this, and I base it on my experiences living in the South.

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