It's one of my favorite vegetables. I've been cooking it in various ways for well over fifty years. Eggplant Parmigiano (or more likely Pecorini from me), moussaka, baba ganouj, imam bayeldi, ratatouille, poor man's caviar, stuffed egg plant, and even just plain old fried egg plant.
I have always loved the way it breaks down into a smooth creamy texture with a little time in the pan. But over the last three years or so, every once in a while I get an eggplant that is like some sort of "pod people" mutation. They're like a cross between en eggplant on the outside and a loofah on the inside. Doesn't matter what I do, they stubbornly remain this fibrous plank that is not chewable, no matter how long I cook it. It's sort of soft, but in the way a piece of boiled leather or super thick felt would be.
So far, it has only been a problem with the standard large purple eggplant, but it really is ticking me off. I thought maybe it has something to do with not salting the slices evenly, but that's not it. Today I spent a goodly amount of time dicing onions, bell peppers, zucchini, egg plant, mincing garlic, mixing my own herbs de provence, and simmering what I expected to be a great ratatouille. And the flavor is great but... Some of the cubes of eggplant are simply unchewable. <sigh> Has anyone else had this problem? I hope it's not just me....
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