Friday, August 13, 2010

Would an Aubergine by any other name taste as sweet?

Eggplant...  aubergine...  melanzane...  I prefer aubergine.  It's a beautiful word and it rolls off the tongue.  Aubergine sounds sophisticated.  Colorful.  Stylish.  The word eggplant is a harsh thud - earthy and farm-fresh - and does not hint of vivid colors. 

This blog post has a dual purpose.  One:  I have conquered yet another recipe.  Two (and I hope will improve my posts from now on):  I have learned a little bit about food styling thanks to an old friend Kavey and a delightful new blog I found through Kavey's site called Culinary Travels, written by Georgina.  You can find Kavey and Georgina's links in my "food and wine porn" link list.

As luck would have it, Kavey's latest blog post was about a seminar she attended on food styling and photography.  Georgina had a similar recent post with detailed tips about food photography as well.  Armed with some ideas, I took some photos this evening with my Canon 30D and 35mm F1.4L lens.  A lens with a max aperture of F1.4 can have some really tight DOF shots which makes for some interesting effects.  You can also hand hold a shot with that size of aperture - no flash!

After all that, I could not decide which shot I preferred to highlight for this post.  I narrowed it down to two shots on different plates.  If you are so inclined, feel free to vote on which you like better.  Muchas Gracias!


Here is the recipe I made tonight.  Incredibly easy, delicious, and yes, crispy.  I found it here:,1750,144190-254206,00.html


2 small eggplants  (I only used one)
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
4 tablespoons freshly minced parsley  (omitted)
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (I used a McCormick's spice blend of garlic, onion, and a few other herbs in place of all spices listed here)
1/4 tsp. ea. celery seed, paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp. ea. garlic and onion powder
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, whole  (I used the pre-chopped-and-steeping-in-olive-oil garlic in a glass bottle).
3 tablespoons olive oil (you need more than this!)

Wash and slice eggplant and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit out for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Set out 2 shallow dishes or trays.

Into the first tray, measure bread crumbs, parsley, celery seed, 1/2 of the cheese, paprika, garlic and onion powder.
In the second tray, beat the 2 eggs well with a fork. Add the chopped parsley and the other half of the cheese.
Heat a pan with 1/4 inch olive oil. Add the garlic in whole pieces; as the oil toasts the garlic, mash it into the oil with the tines of a fork to flavor the oil; remove before browning. Meanwhile, dip the eggplant into the egg mixture, turn to coat both sides; dip and coat both sides in the bread crumb mixtures. Fry in hot olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until golden on both sides and eggplant is tender in center. If eggplant is later to be baked in a casserole, fry only until edges are browned as cooking will be finished in the oven.

Serve as is, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, or bake in a casserole dish for 30 minutes at 375°F topped with grated Parmesan, mozzarella and pasta sauce.  (I left out the pasta sauce for this last step).

Here is the other photo:



Kavey said...

Really pleased you enjoyed the post... and also that you were able to find another fantastic blog via my own - I know you'll enjoy reading Georgina's great writing and her beautiful images!

I like both your two images a lot but think I prefer the first. My only suggestion would be to include the stem of the aubergine in the shot, as without it, it's not AS obvious what it is, without the context of the rest of the blog post. Turning the aubergine about so the stem is more visible would make it more instantly recognisable I think. I love the shallow DOF in the first one - you know me, I'm a sucker for shallow DOF!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Miss Kavita! Good advice. I was surprised how hard it was to get a focus lock on the aubergine.

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Thank you (and to Kavey as well) for the lovely compliments.

I like both your images, but prefer the second. As Kavey already mentioned I think both shots would benefit from having the aubergine stem in view. Love the shallow DOF.

Elizabeth said...

Georgina, thank you! I bought some fruit from the farmer's market and spent part of yesterday taking photos. I am not as pleased with the efforts of yesterday, I might have to reshoot.

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