I love eggplant, but I don’t think that I really fell in love with it until I learned how to properly cook it. Eggplant can end up soggy and a little lackluster, but if you take the right approach, it will turn out tender and even a little crispy.
- SALT. Once you’ve cut up your eggplant however you like (cubed, sliced, etc), sprinkle all sides liberally with salt.
- DRAIN. If you’re eggplant is sliced (maybe for grilling), lay the slices side by side on a couple of layers of paper towels and top with more paper towels. If you’ve cubed or chopped your eggplant, simply put in a strainer.
- LEAVE IT. A solid 15 minutes at least, 30 minutes is best. Just get the rest of your meal ready. If you’re doing slices, I like to put a pan on top of them to squeeze a little extra moisture out.
- WIPE OR RINSE. (That is the question.) If you diced up your eggplant, it’s too difficult to get the salt off without rinsing, so just do a quick rinse. Then dump your eggplant onto a clean kitchen towel and dry them as best you can. If you went the slices route, you can wipe most of the salt off and just consider them already seasoned.
- COOK. Drizzle with olive oil and any other seasonings and toss well. If you’re baking, I roast at 400 and toss once. The cook time will depend upon the size of your eggplant pieces. You can also cook eggplant in a skillet, or grill slices.
There are other choices when cooking eggplant (roasting whole, for example), but this is my tried-and-true method that I employ when making pasta and curry.