Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.

TIP Keep eggplant refrigerated and use within a day or two of buying it.

Eggplants are at the height of their season from now through August. Choose a shiny eggplant that feels heavy for its size and has taut, smooth and unblemished skin.

 

GRILLED EGGPLANT

Simple grilled eggplant may be served as is, drizzled with a little vinaigrette or topped with fresh salsa, layered with slices of tomato and basil leaves, or served up as the centerpiece of a hearty meatless vegetable sandwich.

1 pound eggplant, skin on, cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick

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1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray or brush with oil; heat grill to medium-high for direct cooking.

2. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with the oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until tender and well marked.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 59 calories, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 4g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 293mg sodium

 

SESAME GINGERED EGGPLANT DIP

Serve with toasted pita or raw cut-up vegetables.

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2 1/2 pounds eggplant

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon honey

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3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 scallions, chopped

1. Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with cooking spray-coated foil or coat the grill rack with spray and heat the grill for medium-high direct- heat cooking.

2. Prick the eggplants in 6 to 8 places with a fork and roast, turning occasionally, until they are completely withered, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 10 to 15 minutes; slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Drain the pulp in a colander, pressing lightly with your hands to expel the moisture. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook 30 to 60 seconds, until softened and fragrant but not deeply browned. Turn the heat off and stir in the honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Combine with the drained eggplant; stir in the red pepper flakes and, just before serving, stir in the scallions.

Makes 6 servings (about 2 cups).

Nutritional analysis per serving 83 calories, 2 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 372 mg sodium

 

EGGPLANT SALAD

1 pound eggplant

2 medium tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 pound)

1 green bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 finely minced clove garlic

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with cooking spray-coated foil or coat the grill rack with spray and heat the grill for medium-high direct- heat cooking.

2. Prick eggplant in 6 to 8 places with a fork. Broil or grill, turning the eggplant occasionally, until it is withered on all sides, about 20 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out pulp and place the flesh in a colander to drain for 10 to 15 minutes. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

3. Combine the eggplant with the tomato, green pepper, onion, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours for flavors to blend. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 129 calories, 2 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 299 mg sodium