A small, mottled eggplant similar in both shape and size to Italian eggplant, the graffiti eggplant is a quick-cooking variety of eggplant. Hailing from the Old World, the graffiti eggplant is best paired with grilled meats, bright herbs and young cheeses such as feta, fontina and mozzarella. Because it cooks quickly, fast and hot are prevailing methods to cook this flavorful gem.
Graffiti Eggplant Basics
Graffiti eggplants are tear-dropped shaped eggplants with variegated coloring in purple and ivory. Noted for having rich and fruity-flavored flesh, the graffiti eggplant is eaten raw and cooked. Ranging in size from 3 to 8 inches, these petite eggplants become creamy and seem to melt when cooked. Because they are not as spongy as larger varieties, they do not need to be salted and dried before cooking. For the best texture and flavor, the prime cooking methods for these small eggplants are grilling, sauteing and pan-frying.
Grilled Graffiti Eggplant
Grill graffiti eggplant over a hot flame to bring out its flavor and impart some smoky flavor into it. Slice graffiti eggplant into 1/2-inch slices and use a kitchen brush to spread oil on both sides of the slices before grilling. Place eggplant directly on the grill grates and cook, flipping once, until the eggplant is soft and browned on both sides. Use graffiti eggplant inside wrapped sandwiches or eat it on its own topped with herbs and light seasonings to enjoy its mild flavor.
Sauteing Graffiti Eggplant
Graffiti eggplants absorb much less oil when sauteed compared with spongier types of eggplant, making sauteing an ideal preparation method. Cut graffiti eggplant into small, 1/2-inch cubes for even, quick sauteing. Saute or stir-fry graffiti eggplant alone or with other vegetables over high heat and use a spatula to move the eggplant around consistently to prevent burning while cooking. When tender, remove the sauteed eggplant and season to taste for eating on its own or inclusion in another recipe.
Frying Graffiti Eggplant
Because of their quick-cooking nature and lesser sponginess than other eggplants, frying is an easy preparation method that yields superior results. Bread eggplant by dipping slices into egg and then rolling in bread crumbs before placing into hot, shimmering oil to cook. Flip once after the first side is well browned and continue to cook until the other side is browned and the eggplant is tender. Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this can cause the eggplant to steam instead of fry, which causes it to cook unevenly.
References and ResourcesSpecialty Produce: Graffiti Eggplant
The Kitchn: A Round Up of Eggplant
Suzanne's Kitchen -- Come On In: An A-Z Kitchen Guide; Suzanne Rexford
Fine Cooking: Eggplant