Ingredients: Per 4 servings
Wash the eggplant, and cut off the ends. Cut into ½ inch sticks.
Fry the eggplant in a frying pan full of boiling oil, making sure that the fully submerge the sticks. When they are golden brown, drain with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a plate lines with paper towels, then season with salt.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over low heat, then add the mint and, after a couple of minutes, add the fried eggplant and vinegar.
Mix well, then add the breadcrumbs to absorb the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
Serve the eggplant cold.
Originally from modern-day India, eggplant is perhaps one of the most poorly considered foods in the history of Italian gastronomy.
Contrary to other vegetables from the same geographical area, in fact, eggplant was unknown in Europe for a long time, only be introduced following the Arab occupation. The Arabs had already been eating eggplants for a long time and believed that they were a powerful aphrodisiac.
Although Sicily was one of the first regions in Europe to discover these eclectic vegetables, eggplants remained victims of strong prejudices in Italy for a long time, perhaps because they contain solanine, a naturally occurring poison, or perhaps because of their color purple was considered a bad omen, believed that lead to madness.
Their introduction in the local diet was very gradual. Records of their consumption by the rural classes dates back to the sixteenth century when the herbalist Mattioli reported that in some parts of Italy eggplants were eaten fried and seasoned with salt and pepper simply because they were believed to be aphrodisiacs.
In the nineteenth century, Pellegrino Artusi explained the culinary value of eggplants in his book "The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well," making them a suitable food for the bourgeoisie.
Did you know that...
in some parts of Italy during the Second World War, the peasants used to make cigars and cigarettes using dried eggplant leaves because they didn’t have access to tobacco?
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