Oh eggplant… how i can love you and hate you.
Heres some great stuff about cooking with Eggplants that helped me to make an A-mazing and simple eggplant dinner tonight. My recipe is after the how to. (Article from How To Cook Eggplant to Tender, Silky Perfection on finecooking.com)
1. Peel the eggplant in stripes (unless you’re using a tender-skinned variety) and then slice or cube it, depending on the recipe.
Because globe eggplant and other large varieties usually have tough skins, peeling it is a good idea, especially if you’re serving it in chunks or slices. But I don’t like to remove the skin entirely. Instead, I partially peel it in a striped fashion.
When you grill-roast the eggplant and then separate the flesh from the peel, keep the skin on during cooking to keep the eggplant intact.
2. Salt for the best flavor.
Globe eggplant works deliciously in just about any eggplant dish, provided you salt it first. Salting, also known as purging, accomplishes two goals: it pulls out juices that carry bitter flavors, and it collapses the air pockets in the eggplant’s sponge-like flesh, thus preveniting it from absorbing too much oil and getting greasy.
To salt eggplant, peel it and then slice, cube, or quarter it, depending on the recipe. Sprinkle the pieces generously with salt and let them sit in a colander for an hour (you’ll usually see a lot of liquid beading on the surface). Rinse the eggplant in plenty of water to remove the salt, firmly squeeze a few pieces at a time in the palm of your hand to draw out almost all the moisture, and then pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. Thorough drying is important; squeezing out excess moisture will give you a less greasy result.
3. How to Fry and Stir-fry Eggplant
These cooking methods seem to throw people the most because of how much grease eggplant can soak up. If you’re using globe eggplant, salt it and squeeze it dry; other varieties don’t need salting. Be sure the oil is very hot and put the slices in the pan in one layer (if you crowd the pan, the eggplant will steam instead of fry and won’t cook evenly). Turn often and adjust the heat to avoid burning until the slices are a rich brown color, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Quick-cooking Japanese and Chinese eggplant are the best candidates for stir-frying. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. When the oil is very hot, toss the cubes into the pan with a little salt and stir-fry until the eggplant is a rich brown color.
4. How to Oven-Roast Eggplant
As an alternative to grill-roasting, pierce the eggplant in several places and roast it whole and unpeeled on a baking sheet at 350°F until it’s quite soft and starting to collapse, almost an hour. Peel and drain it as you would for grill-roasting.
What I did:
[pics to come]
- I had three skinny eggplants (japanese?) so i peeled it in stripes (like the picture), cut them in half and cooked them, cut side down in an oiled pan for about 10 miutes.
- When they were browned on the bottom, I flipped them, added salt and pepper and a bit more oil and put them in the oven on 350 degrees for 15 minutes (or until super soft)
- Then i covered them with sliced tomatoes, basil from my garden and mozzarella cheese and put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes. (the picture is before this last melting step)
This meal was so good that i nearly ate all three eggplants by myself.