Family: Solanaceae (nightshade)
“Aubergine” (the name used in British English) comes from the Catalan alberginia, a corruption of the Arabic albadindjan. The name “eggplant” derives from the vegetable’s shape.
The eggplant has various shapes, generally elongated but also ranging from egg-shaped (hence its name) to a large pear-shaped ball. Its skin is shiny and smooth and its color may be purple, white or violet.
This vegetable with its noble purple robe attracted the curiosity of France’s Louis XIV who asked his gardener to grow it; however it was not until the 19th century that it began to show up in cookbooks. For a long time it remained a southern European vegetable, found only in the kitchens of Nice, Andalusia, Greece and Italy. Immigration, marketing and export have now brought the eggplant to tables around the world.
Hints & Tips