Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Super Size Me Eggplant

giant eggplant

You just never know what you're going to find at the farmers' market. This past Sunday as I was walking toward a table heavy with eggplant I noticed something strange. The closer I got to it, the bigger it got. The eggplant was expanding right in front of my own eyes.

My first thought was, "Great, I mixed up my contact lenses again and have them in the wrong eyes." (Yes, I've done that before -- it distorts your vision.)

When I reached the eggplant, I bent down, staring closely at it. It stopped growing, and it was sharp and in focus. My eyes weren't deceiving me; these eggplants were far from normal. Sure, they still had their smooth, shiny, purple skin. But they were huge. Like beached whales, they were unmovable.

The farmer noticed me ogling and scurried over. "Is something wrong?" he asked.

"Oh, no. I'm just shocked at how big they are," I said.

He exhaled a sigh of relief and smiled warmly.

I picked one up. It was heavy, in the 1 to 2-pounds. I held it up, turning it around, admiring its muscular size and heft.

"So, what made them grow so large?" I asked.

"The sun?" the farmer said, asking me more than answering me.

"No, I mean did you do anything special to make them grow so large?"

"Water them?" he said, in that questioning voice.

"Are they heirloom eggplants? Are the seeds special? Are they from Jupiter?" I asked.

I was determined to get to the bottom of these freakishly large nightshades.

He furrowed his eyebrows and rubbed his chin between his thumb and forefinger. He paused then finally said, "Nope. They're just really big. Do you want to buy one?"

In typical supersized-American fashion, I said, "No, give me two."

Whether you find a giant eggplant or not, here are seven sensational eggplant recipes for you to try:

Grilled Eggplant Napoleons recipe from Food Blogga, pictured above

Baked Eggplant Parmigiana recipe from Food Blogga

Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen

Eggplant, Potato, and Chick Pea Curry recipe from Andrea's Recipes (Photo courtesy of Andrea from Andrea's recipes)

Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana Panini recipe from Panini Happy

Italian Eggplant with Crumbled Beef, Tomatoes, and Mint recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess (Photo courtesy of Karina from Gluten-Free Goddess)

Cold Aubergine Salad recipe from The Perfect Pantry

Pasta alla Norma recipe from The Italian Dish