Eggplants are all lovely to look at and lovely to behold, but cooking them might turn into a whole challenge. Here are five ways to help you prepare them and fall in love with its tastiness.
- Salt it first: Slice the eggplant, remove the skin, and place it in a single layer on cooling racks set over a rimmed baking sheet and coat it with salt. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes until the liquid comes out, then wash them off and pat them dry very well with paper towels. The idea of salting is to draw out any bitterness.
- Roast eggplant long and slow: Eggplants are often roasted whole or halved with delicious results. The delicate flesh, creamy and fine, can be scooped out and added to tahini for luscious baba ghanoush, stirred into other generously roasted vegetables for a roasted eggplant caviar, or bathed in sweet, salty miso. Try roasting a halved eggplant, drizzling with tahini and pomegranate molasses, and serving with yogurt and fresh herbs as a luxurious entrée. One kitchen tip: Make sure to poke the eggplant with a fork very well before you cook it. You might also cover it with foil while cooking as well.
- Pair eggplant with tomatoes as often as you can: Tomatoes and eggplant are a classic combo — and for good reason. Tomatoes are tart, sweet, and juicy; eggplant can’t wait to soak it up, and together they offer countless opportunities to freestyle to create something new.
You don’t even need a formal recipe to do it: Start the stew with classic aromatics: onions, celery, carrots. Add some sweet bell peppers, then add salt and pepper and maybe a dash of your favorite hot sauce and cook, stirring, over high heat. Add plenty of fresh grated tomatoes, cubed (pre-salted) eggplant, and lower the heat to low. Cover and let it cook down until everything is soft, about 10 minutes. Add other veggies of your personal preference. Cook until the eggplant is completely soft and the other vegetables are tender-crisp. Add a handful of chopped basil and parsley, or try a little mint or tarragon. Stir, taste for salt and pepper, and away you go
- Serve it hot or cold: Eggplant is super versatile. It is tolerant and gentle, so it doesn’t mind being served hot, cold, or at room temperature. Cooked eggplant adds thickness and texture. It’s easy to add to almost any soup or stew since it plays well with the flavors of so many places in the world, from a summer minestrone to miso soup. Cold is also awesome as well. Try it tossed in a peanut satay sauce over noodles.
- Fry eggplant anew: Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside isn’t just for chicken. No reason to be tired of the old fried eggplant either. How about adding chickpea flour to the regular wheat flour? Or some spelt or rye flour? Eggplants can stand up to it, and it will feel new again.