How to Cook Eggplant
The Recipe Redux – September, 2016: First Cooking Recollections
Growing up I was lucky enough to have a dad that was a real wiz in the kitchen. He was Classical French trained, and he even cooked in a couple restaurants during college to help pay for his tuition. I remember him being really good at creating tasty dishes made up from whatever he found on hand in the kitchen. And since my mom did most of the grocery shopping, for him it really was a surprise of what foods he would have to work with in the refrigerator.
One of my favorite foods dad prepared was eggplant. Whether grilled, roasted, baked or fried, his eggplant was always delicious. Sometimes he would restuff the eggplant shell with eggplant and other vegetables and roast – incredible!
Outside of the home, there have been many times where eggplant tasted on the bitter side. But never was one bite of my dad’s. He always managed to avoid that issue entirely.
How? His secret: before cooking, always make your eggplant “weep”.
Yes, weepy eggplant makes for happy diners! Simply salt and rest your eggplant slices, and soon the salt will draw out all the bitterness from your eggplant. It’s so easy.
I prefer to layer the eggplant slices in between sheets of paper towels or coffee filters to help absorb all the moisture that will be drawn out of the eggplant by the salt. If you prefer not to use either option, you could just salt the eggplant slices, wait 30 minutes, and then rinse eggplant.
Whether grilled or roasted, having cooked eggplant on hand is great. Toss it with pasta, layer it into sandwiches, or serve it up on its own as a delicious side dish.
Did you know that eggplant is technically a berry fruit and part of the nightshade family? Well, now you do!
2 medium Eggplants, stem removed, sliced
1/3 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Olive oil OR
2-3 cups Tomato sauce, low sodium
On a large plate lay out a paper towel sheet or 2 coffee filters. On top of the towel/filters place slices of eggplant in a single layer. lightly salt the eggplant, then cover salted slices with another paper towel sheet or 2 more coffee filters. Add another eggplant layer on top of your first pile, salt, cover and repeat process until you have used all the eggplant slices.
Let eggplant slices sit for 20-30 minutes, so that the salt draws out some of their moisture into the paper towels or coffee filters.
Separate the eggplant slices from the towels/filters. Discard the used paper towels and coffee filters. Rinse the eggplant to remove any excess salt and towel dry.
To grill eggplant: Toss eggplant in olive oil. Grill eggplant over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly.
To Roast Eggplant: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add a small layer of tomato sauce to a large baking dish. Add a single layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Add more sauce on top of the eggplant slices. Add another layer of eggplant in the dish. repeat the process until you have no more eggplant, making sure to have enough sauce to cover the top layer of eggplant.
Bake until eggplant is thoroughly cooked, about 45-55 minutes.
What’s your favorite way to eat eggplant?