Cauliflower has become in-cool-iflower. Kale has wilted and avocado is over-cado. The next big superfood is definitely eggplant! Yes, alert your #eatclean hashtag and adjust your salads. They have all been swapped as the coolest ingredient in the kitchen by an unlikely, up till now silent hero: the humble eggplant. The aubergine, as our British cousins insist on calling it.
Eggplant’s resurgence is mostly thanks to the Middle Eastern food trend, directed by the super-chef Yotam Ottolenghi, who is a passionate eggplant fan – he calls it “the mighty eggplant” – arguing that it may be identified as “poor man’s meat” however, are in fact, a “vegetarian’s rich treat”.
Ottolenghi points to meals like traditional Turkish stew imam bayildi (that translates as “the imam fainted”) and hünkar begendi (“sultan’s delight”), which is a smoked eggplant puree topped with lamb. In all 5 of his London restaurants, eggplants are miso-glazed, roasted, rolled into croquettes or stuffed with cheese. And as numerous seasoned gastro-observers know, what happens in Ottolenghi’s kitchens soon occurs everywhere else.
Sabrina Ghayour, who is a British-Iranian chef and author of Persiana and Sirocco- which is one of the best-selling cookbooks of the past 2 years – is forever chargrilling eggplants to drizzle with saffron yogurt, encrust with fried semolina, or sprinkle with cumin. Eggplant chips (that you can dip in fennel yogurt for extra chic points) are recurrently popular at Soho’s Spuntino, and are tastily fried with feta and dates at Moro’s little sister Morito.
Certainly, eggplants are so in vogue right now – numerous vegans around the world are using them to make fake bacon (“facon”).
Purple fruit and vegetable, in general, are amazing – think red cabbage, plums, blueberries, beetroot – because the anthocyanin that provides their color is a potent antioxidant. Eggplant skin is also high in chlorogenic acid and phytonutrients.
Eggplants also form a great part of a Mediterranean diet that recent research suggests could be better for the cardiovascular system than taking statins. They can be layered in moussaka, mashed in baba ghanoush, stirred in ratatouille, or baked in Tony Soprano’s favorite: “parmi” (or parmigiana di melanzane).
The Next Big Superfood: Avocado Vs. Eggplant
- Original name
Eggplant used to go by “garden egg” or, even “mad apple”, while the scaly green skin of avocado means it was once called the “alligator pear”.
- Brunch popularity
The hipster dish “smashed avocado on sourdough toast” presented by Nigella, today is so widespread, even McDonald’s are making it. Eggplant-based brunches are still niche concern.
- Signature dip
Baba ganoush is the classy, smoky highlight of each mezze platter, while guacamole has become a diluted, usually dolloped-on nacho topping.
- Décor credentials
The main claim of avocado to interiors fame is loaning its snooty green color to ill-advised bathroom suites in the Seventies. Eggplant has its own Farrow & Ball shade, baby!
- Namesake restaurants
Eggplant has lent its tag to 2 Michelin-starred joints: Paul Pollux’s Dutch fine dining room and Gordon Ramsay’s Chelsea brasserie. Avocado could just claim tediously-spelt sandwich chain called Abokado.
- M&S Ubiquity
Eggplants have to settle for a guest role in some veggie lasagnas, while avocado not only comes in sandwiches and salads but pre-sliced in deeply lazy affordable pots.
- Superfood Status
Eggplant is rich in anti-oxidants but has not still caught on as much with the smug crowd. Avocado is a firm favorite of numerous wellness bloggers as “an incredible fat burner”.
- Wordgame Value
Collecting 18 points to avocado’s paltry 7, eggplant romps home at Countdown.
- Final score
Eggplant – Avocado: 5 – 3. Move aside, crocodile pear, and make it snappy.
Eggplant is the next big superfood, according to the best chefs in the world. It has a unique texture and taste making it a perfect ingredient in various dishes. Whether you want to bake, grill, or broil this fruit, you will receive numerous nutrients and amazing health benefits. Eggplant is very low in sodium and calories and is an incredible source of B vitamins, potassium, and fiber.
Avocado is still one of the most nutrient-dense foods. It is high in fiber and is one of the best foods that provide potassium, folate, magnesium, and vitamin E. Undoubtedly, avocado nutrition makes it a great superfood. Therefore, always try to include eggplant or avocado in your recipes to get the best of them.