The Case of the Exploding Eggplant

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Yes you read that right. This blog is about a historical event. The event remains firmly entrenched in my memory. An experience which kitchen novices should be prepared for. Just as households need to have a natural disaster kit prepared, they also need to be aware of errant eggplants. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you.

Eggplant or Aubergine – they are one and the same. Aubergine sounds very exotic, but is now entrenched in my memory as a paint colour. Think of a sentence in a novel reading: ‘Her kitchen walls were painted in a slight aubergine hue.’ Now I refer to the once humble aubergine as an eggplant. You can call it what you will.

Enough of wordsmith meanderings. My wonderful husband George is Romanian. So our meals are a fairly eclectic mix. George was homesick for an eggplant salad/dip. Phone calls to Mama, safely ensconced in Romania, ensued. And this is where, sometimes, instructions get lost in translation.

I had the eggplant. I was told to roast it, skin and all. Over yonder, they pop the eggplant on a hotplate. I wasn’t going to plop anything on a hotplate – “Hello. Who has to clean up afterwards?” So I decided the said eggplant could go in the oven. After all what is the difference between a hotplate and an oven – approximately 12 inches if that?

Time passed. The clock ticked. A peek in the oven – a knock on the eggplant. It was solid. More time passed, more waiting and more peeking – you get my drift. Well close to an hour later that eggplant was still rock solid. It didn’t feel roasted or even just a smidgeon soft. George was summonsed from his garage duties. Like a damsel in distress, I cried ‘Help!”

Just as he would lift a baby from a bassinet, George took the eggplant from the oven and placed it on a board. He gingerly poked a knife in. Well faster than you can say “Kapow, Boom, Whoom” – it exploded. The noise effects were actually quite spectacular. Not that George appreciated them, as he was splattered in burning hot eggplant. Oops. We are still married. Evidence he is prepared to overlook my kitchen foibles.

Lesson learnt. Pierce the eggplant first. Unless you want to make like you are at a rock concert. Or if there is a person in your life you are not terribly fond of, invite them over. And say ‘could you test this eggplant for me?’. Not that I would do anything like that!

Now that I have mastered roasting a whole eggplant, I often make the following recipe. After 30 minutes or so in the oven, take your ‘PIERCED’ eggplant and peel off the skin. Lay it on a board, and raise the board slightly so any residue liquids drain into the sink. You can leave overnight. Finely chop the eggplant and red onion. Place into a bowl and stir in mayonnaise.

Uses? I have served this as an eggplant dip. Instead of tomato paste or a tomato sauce on the base of your pizza, layer the eggplant dip instead and then top with what you will.

But please always remember. Pierce the eggplant!

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7 thoughts on “The Case of the Exploding Eggplant

  1. I wish I would have read this about an hour ago. Did you know that if you don’t pierce the eggplant before you put it in the oven, and then turn the oven on 450 for about 45 minutes, and then turn it up to broil at the end, it will explode all on it’s own? No piercing needed to create the eggplant pyrotechnics.

    The bad news – half of the eggplant was on the bottom of my oven. (not salvageable) The good news, the other half was on the pan I was roasting it on, and hanging on the oven racks (this I could use). The best news – I did not have to peel that sucker at all! LOL! Instead of Baba Ghanoush, I will have BOOM BOOM Ghanosh

    • Angie while that does sound terrible I do love your way of turning it into humour and Boom Boom Ghanoush sounds like a very good name for this.
      Oven cleaning is no fun though! :(

  2. I have just had the experience of an eggplant explosion! It was not a nice moment! However, I think that the reason was that the oven was extremely hot… it Will not explode at a lower heat…. one hour in the oven at low heat… don’t need to pierce

    • Now that’s a new one – exploding watermelons. Due to just size difference, that would have been messier then an eggplant!!

  3. Oh Irene I haven’t ever heard of that happening to anyone before.
    Exploding in the oven, yes, but once out of the oven I didn’t think that would happen…

    Funnily enough Ed is enroute to Romania on a business trip. I haven’t as yet heard many positives on the gastronomic front but he is hoping I am wrong!

    • The food is wonderful Helen. Oh my god I wish I could be in his suitcase. If he needs any tips, hints let me know. If he wants the names of foods to look out for, once again – please ask. We have relatives in Bucharest, but closest family are in Transylvania.