Small pumpkins? No, eggplants!
Recently arrived in area farmers markets is the orange Turkish eggplant, also known as the tomato eggplant for its resemblance to a tomato. The specimens gathered at Abingdon Square this past Saturday are firm-fleshed, and had to be set aside for a few days to ripen. Soil conditions determine whether the fruit has sweet or bitter juices (which must be evacuated by osmosis, by slicing the eggplant and covering the exposed interior with salt, then squeezing and rinsing the flesh an hour or so later).
The Turkish eggplant is thought to have originated in Turkey or Africa, and these specimens were purchased at the stand of Muddy Farm of Kripplebush, New York, which is in the mid-Catskill region just west of the Hudson Valley.
These eggplants are a bit small to be used in a baba ganoush, and I’ll probably slice them and sautee them in olive oil, or cut them in half, scoop out some of the flesh, fill the cavity with tomatoes, coarsley chopped garlic, and olive oil, and braise them in a medium oven in a pan of water, to make the famous Turkish dish imam bayildi, or “the imam fainted.”