Eggplant may be steamed, fried, baked, sauteed, boiled, microwaved, stir-fried or stuffed. They are eaten as an appetizer, main dish or as part of a melange of vegetables. The most popular eggplant dishes include Caponata, Moussaka, Ratatouille, and Eggplant Parmigiana. Here are the most important eggplant cooking tips and measures.
- Eggplant skin is edible. However, some find it bitter, thus some recipes require peeling.
- The flesh is very sponge-like and will soak up juices and oils. Coat slices with flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs to avoid soaking up too much oil. Let breaded patties dry for half an hour in the refrigerator before frying.
- Par-boiling slices for 1 to 2 minutes can also help reduce the absorbancy of eggplant while ridding it of moisture. Be sure to thoroughly drain and pat dry with paper towels before further cooking.
- Once cut, eggplant flesh will begin to darken with exposure to air. A saltwater bath or a brushing of lemon juice will keep the flesh light.
- Do not use aluminum cookware with eggplant as it will cause discoloration.
- Some cooks salt the cut eggplant and let it sit for up to an hour to leach out water and bitterness before cooking. Today's varieties should not need this step, but follow the directions for your specific recipe.
- Bitterness is concentrated just under the skin, so peeling will also work on especially large eggplants.
- Eggplant may be microwaved to remove excess water. Microwave slices on high for 4 to 6 minutes, remove, cover and let stand for a minute or two. Use paper towels and press lightly to soak up the water.
- If you are baking the whole eggplant, be sure to puncture the skin in several places so it does not burst.
- Add eggplant to soups and stews during the last 10 minutes to avoid overcooking.
Eggplant Measures and Equivalents
• 1 medium eggplant = about 1 pound.
• 1 medium eggplant = 4 to 6 servings.
• 1 pound eggplant = 3 to 4 cups diced.
• 1 serving = 1/3 pound as a side dish.
• 1 serving = 1/2 to 3/4 pound as a main dish.