Mela insana, "mad apple," was the name given to eggplant by early Italian botanists because it was believed the vegetable was poisonous and capable of causing insanity. Eggplant was cultivated for the beauty of its flowers and glossy fruits rather than for the kitchen. Today, there are many varieties of eggplant, both solid and striped, in a rainbow of skin colors, including purple, violet, white and green. Salting eggplant is a precautionary step to eliminate bitter juices. If your eggplant is very fresh, you can skip this step. Fresh marjoram complements grilled eggplant. If it is not available, fresh basil, parsley, mint or oregano are delicious alternatives.
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