During my recent trip to the Philippines, I asked Miss Em, mom’s helper, to show me how to cook Eggplant Omelette. It’s an easy recipe using just 3 main ingredients: Eggplants, Eggs, and Salt. I used to dislike eating Eggplant Omelettes. Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve acquired a taste for how delicious this dish can be.
The summer kitchen outside our house is old; the white tile is worn with age, cracked and scuffed in a lot of places. Miss Em proudly tells me that she painted the kitchen and table a year ago. She realizes that it needs a fresh coat of paint but the screened door and windows do little to protect the space from the elements. The walls and kitchen table are discolored, dark and speckled in most areas. The tropical heat, rain, humidity, and splattered oil from everyday cooking have obviously done their jobs in the kitchen.
Still, Miss Em proudly shows off how neat and organized she is. She gestures toward the neatly hung vegetable peeler, scissors, and potholders on the wooden frame of the kitchen and informs me that she hammered the small nails into the wall herself. The reused tiny glass bottles she picked out and washed to store salt, peppercorns, sugar, bay leaves, and other spices. She is shy and cheerful, with a slight mischievous sparkle in her eyes as she changes the topic to the latest neighborhood gossip she heard from a friend.
The kitchen is full of laughter and lively talk while Miss Em and I cook and get to know each other. She admits that when she first worked for mom, she didn’t know how to cook . Mom had to teach her simple home cooked meals as well as more complex party dishes. Miss Em developed a talent and love for cooking over time. She smiles and says in a quiet and cheerful voice, “I can cook the whole day!”
Eggplant Omelette is not pretty to look at since the eggplant has to be boiled (or grilled), peeled, cut and shaped into a fan before frying in a pan with the scrambled eggs. I can’t help but make bawdy remarks about eggs and eggplants during the preparation process to see if I can further crack Miss Em’s shy demeanor. With some success, I got a few “laugh out loud” moments.
- Another way of making this dish is to grill the whole eggplant (skin included). This creates a smoky flavor. Once the eggplant is tender, peel the skin from stalk to tip, mash gently, mix in the whisked eggs. Fry the eggplant until caramel brown.
- Cooked ground meat flavored with salt and pepper can also be added to the whisked eggs. Once the eggplant is dipped and coated in the egg mixture, transfer eggplant with a spatula onto a heated frying pan. Scoop ground meat from the egg mixture and spread evenly on top of the eggplant. Fry eggplant until caramel brown.
- The eggplant stalk doesn’t need not be chopped off, it helps retain it’s shape
- Peel eggplant skin from stalk to tip (after boiling), be careful not to burn yourself
- The longer the eggplant is fried the less mushy it is, cooking until the Eggplant Omelete has a dark caramel color is recommended
Picture above: Eggplant peeled, cut from stalk to tip and shaped flat with spoon and fork