Shaped similar to an egg or pear, small white eggplant features a creamy texture and delicate flavor. Low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients, eggplant is an excellent addition to any meal or side dish. Because of their small size, baby eggplants are relatively easy to prepare and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Since eggplant soaks up significant amounts of oil during cooking, you'll want to avoid using heavy amounts of oil while preparing your dish.
Cut the eggplant into whatever shape you desire. Some people prefer cutting it in half lengthwise, while others prefer cutting it crosswise into thick slices. Keep your eggplant slices at least 1/2 inch thick to prevent them from becoming too limp during the grilling process.
Drizzle both sides of the eggplant pieces with olive oil. Although you can use a basting brush to spread the olive oil across the eggplant, using your fingers is just as effective.
Sprinkle your desired seasonings on both sides of the eggplant halves. For a simple flavor, use just salt and pepper. For more creative flavoring, consider using spicy mustard, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese or a drizzle of olive oil with lemon juice.
Grill over medium-high heat for three to four minutes per side. The flesh and skin should develop a subtle golden brown color.
Stack the eggplant slices on top of one another, if possible, and move them to an area of the grill away from direct heat. Let the eggplant sit in the covered grill for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Cut the small white eggplants in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the flesh side with salt and pepper.
Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil into a baking dish. Arrange the eggplant halves flesh side down in the oil.
Arrange the baking dish on the middle or top rack. Roast for approximately 15 to 25 minutes or until the skin begins to wrinkle and the flesh becomes tender.
Stuffing and Baking
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the small eggplants in half lengthwise. Remove the eggplant flesh with a spoon and chop it into small cubes before setting it aside for later use. Place the eggplant shells in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the dish.
Brown ground turkey, chicken or beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. If necessary, pour a bit of olive oil into the skillet to prevent sticking. Season the meat with ground black pepper and garlic. Once browned, drain the fat and grease.
Add any additional ingredients you desire to the skillet. At this point, allow your culinary creativity to direct the dish. Ideas include brown rice, mushrooms, chopped onion, chopped bell peppers, celery, tomato sauce and oregano. Add the chopped eggplant to the skillet and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring gently.
Spoon the meat and eggplant mixture into the eggplant shells. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If desired, uncover and sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the stuffed eggplant for the last five to 10 minutes of baking.
Things You'll Need
Seasonings (options: lemon juice, Italian seasoning, herbs, spices)
Stuffing ingredients (options: brown rice, tomato sauce, vegetables)
Meat (options: ground turkey, beef, chicken)
The skin of a small white eggplant can be somewhat tough and thick. If desired, peel strips of skin from the eggplant before cooking to make it softer and more tender. Regardless of the cooking method you choose, always remove both ends of the eggplant before cooking.
Although you might try to avoid using salt for health reasons, sprinkling the eggplant with just a dash of salt helps prevent it from absorbing too much olive oil and becoming soggy. If you are trying to eliminate salt from your diet, let the salted eggplant sit in a colander for up to 60 minutes before cooking. During this time, you should see liquid seeping out of the flesh and beading on the surface. Before cooking, rinse the eggplant and pat dry with paper towels.