Deep Purple

Deep Purple

Aylin Öney Tan -
Deep Purple Deep purple is its color. It is often likened to dark velvet. Not that it is fuzzy. On the contrary, with a satin smooth surface, it is as shiny as polished marble. It must be the deepness of its color that makes one think of velvet. I’m talking about aubergines. In Turkish, in many cases the term “aubergine purple” is used to stress the intensity of the color purple. As Turkish people associate their most popular vegetable with this color, it is hard to comprehend why it is called eggplant in English. Of course, no one here knows about the round ivory colored eggplants that are indeed look-alikes of eggs. Some varieties of eggplants in Asia really do look resemble eggs, both in shape and color, and sometimes even in size. 

Eggplant is one vegetable that has the oddest varieties, especially in its home territory, in India and beyond. They can be a yard long and very thin, marble-sized small pellets or they can be bright green, light mauve, beige, yellow, or, as we’re used to, have a deep purple skin. The naming of the eggplant is as varied as its shapes or colors. In Turkish, it is “patlıcan,” a word every visitor needs to learn, as we cook literally hundreds of “patlıcan” dishes, from kebabs and mezes to sweets; fried, grilled, roasted, pureed, stewed, baked and even candied. Only Italians can be a mere runner up to Turkish people when it comes to having a certain craziness for eggplants. What they call the eggplant is quite insane actually. 

Mad Apple

“Melanzane” is the word for eggplants in Italian. It actually comes from “mela,” or insane, the mad apple. 

Bite of the week

Recipe of the Week:

Eggplants are fantastic when fried. But they do have a tendency to soak up oil like a sponge, so it is very hard to get it right. I first tasted this method of fried eggplants in Venice, made by my dear friend Laura Balich, who is a magnificent cook. The trick is to slice them very thinly, like the back of a blade, so that they end up like eggplant chips. Take a few long and thin eggplants. Do not peel them. Slice very thinly with a sharp knife. Do not salt them or soak them in water, just pat dry with a towel. Deep fry in abundant hot olive oil. Remove from the oil with a perforated ladle onto paper towels. Slightly salt them. Now here comes the trick: put one teaspoon each of salt and sugar in half a glass of vinegar, put the solution in a spray dispenser (like the ones used for dressing salads) and spray it over the eggplant chips. Serve immediately. 

Fork of the Week:

There is nothing like a roasted eggplant salad, we’re all so fond of it. But who likes standing in front of the stove so long, not to mention the mess remaining from the flaky charred skins? There is a solution. Buy them readily roasted in jar. Sera sells reputable roasted eggplant in a jar.

Cork of the Week:

According to how it is cooked, eggplant can go well with both whites and reds. So my pick this week is something in between: a delightful rosé. 

Vino Dessera has been one amazing rosé this summer, with its strong stand, unlike watery blushes in the market. It will surely stand strong with your wonderful eggplant chips.