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best way to cook eggplant

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  • Aimee Aug 26, 2007 07:24 AM

I'm looking to make some kind of grilled or roasted slices of eggplant either on the stove or in the oven. I never seem to do this very well, but I love eggplant when other people cook it. What's a good way to do this? Thanks.

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  1. The trick to getting a dense, satisfying texture to your grilled/roasted eggplant, without using tons of oil, is to salt/rinse/drain beforehand. Just liberally salt your slices of raw eggplant (peeled or unpeeled, whatever your preference), layer them in a colander and let them sit about an hour, then rinse, squeeze, and pat dry with towels. Some authorities say that the salting also removes a bitter taste, but I just do it because the eggplant absorbs less oil and has a better texture this way.

    Madhur Jaffrey has a lot of delicious eggplant recipes in her cookbooks. If you enjoy Indian food, I suggest trying some of her recipes. Once when she was on Julia Child's cooking show on PBS, she made a sweet and sour version with cumin, mint, lemon juice, sugar, and some other ingredients . . . I've made it a couple times and it's out of this world.

    1 Reply
    1. re: operagirl

      I agree with this tip. I personally don't mind the slight bitterness of eggplant, but I have friends who salt their eggplant and wait as long as overnight to get all that bitterness out. That could easily be the little thing you've been missing.

    2. I like to slice eggplant then fry/grill them, then layer them in a 9x13x2 baking dish. then
      grill onions,bell peppers, tomatoes, meatballs or sausage, layer that then another layer
      of grilled eggplant. then cover with your favorite cheese. and you can add cheese before
      the second layer of eggplant. then in the oven it goes until nice and bubbly and hot.

      1. I love to do it on the charcoal grill. Slice the eggplant about 3/4 inch thick. If I have time I salt/rinse. Brush it with olive oil & sprinkle with salt/pepper (easy on the salt if you've salted/drained). Grill for a couple minutes on each side. I also love adding some goat cheese and letting it melt in the grill with the top on for a few minutes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nojunk

          Yeah, grilling. I like to do Japanese eggplants -- split them in half but leave them connected at the stem end, then press on the stem end with the palm of your hand to separate the two halves. Brush with a little olive oil and put 'em on for about 10 minutes....so creamy!

          Cooking Japanese eggplants gives you a higher ratio of skin to flesh, if that's what you're after. Someone down below on this string said you can avoid the charred aftertaste by steaming eggplant, but to me the somewhat charred, bitter taste of the eggplant skin sets off the creamy flesh just fine.

        2. I like to slice and season (often times as the other poster suggests, eliminating the water via the salt method), then nuke in the microwave to par cook it, and finish in the toaster, broiler or grill to crisp the edges.

          1. Recently, I've been loving grilled or broiled eggplant covered in a light glaze of yello miso, rice vinegar, a touch of sugar and salt. It has a subtle sweetness and tastes.... for lack of a better word, delicate.

            I also love whole roasted eggplant (just prick it and toss it in the oven) until it starts to collapse. Then make a T shaped incision in it and sprinkle some salt, grated pecorino, and drizzle a little good olive oil.

            1 Reply
            1. re: danikm

              Not sure if you got my last response. How long and what temp do you cook the whole eggplant?

            2. I like to grill them, but I also like to roast them in the oven too. To roast them, Cut off the green tops, and either peel totally with a vegetable peeler, or peel off alternate strips, making a stripey pattern on the skin (not too much skin to get in the way oncecooked, but it does hold them together a bit too). Slice into 1 1/2-2 cm (3/4"-1") thick coins. Toss with a little bit of olive oil and salt, and dried herbs if you like. Roast at 500F/260C, turning occasionally, adding more oil of totally necessary, until the aubergine pieces are very soft and darker in colour. Add squeeze lemon juice, fresh herbs if you like, and serve as a vegetable side dish.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gooseberry

                Danikim

                how long do you put the eggplant in the oven whole? I really would like to make it.

              2. I love eggplant lots of ways but tried it on the George Forman grill for the first time lat week. Simply sliced in rounds, sprinkled with salt and grilled. Sprayed with olive oil mister both sides. So simple and creamy.

                1. My husband's favorite way to cook eggplant is to flour it, and fry in Cisco. Not a bit good for you, but oh so good.

                  1. There are several different ways I cook the large variety of eggplant:
                    1.) Slice 1/2" thick, marinate for about 30 minutes in a combo of Balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, ground pepper, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce; then grill on a Weber or indoor grill pan. Salt after cooked.
                    2.) Dice the eggplant in about a 2" dice, sprinkle with olive oil, minced garlic, and ground pepper toss together in a roasting pan; roast in a 375* oven for about 30 minutes till soft and tender. I salt after the eggplant is removed from the oven. Sometimes I toss this in a marinara sauce to use with linguine. Sometimes I sprinkle balsamic, or other vinegar over all and serve as a side dish to a roast of some sort.

                    My very favorite dish of all is Parmigiano. Second fave is stuffed/baked.

                    I never salt before cooking and I never remove the skin, even when I make Baba Ghanoush.

                    1. Steam them.

                      Cut eggplants into 1" pieces and steam them for about a 2 minutes (or until soft). They come out buttery and tender, without all the oil or grease from roasting or the charred aftertaste from grilling.

                      1. This is not 100% on point to the question, but my favorite way to prepare eggplant is north african style. Paula Wolfert has a recipe in her book on mediterranean cooking (of which my copy is temporarily awol).

                        Basically, it's the same principal as refried beans. Slice, salt and drain the eggplant. Then saute in olive oil until golden brown. Mash the slices together with salt, garlic, and paprika and then fry the whole mess again. It's absolutely delicious. Next time I'm going to try adding caramelized onions.

                        1. Simple to do...peel eggplants, slice into 1 1/2 inch disks. Place on cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with EVOO and salt. Brush EVOO over tops of slices and put in a 400-450 degree oven... you must watch carefully as they can burn very quickly on you. Roast for at least 10-12 minutes and depending on the degree of carmelization you like take out accordingly. I serve these with slices of fresh beefstake tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. I actually slice the tomatoe, place a disk of eggplant on it and top with mozzarella disk, evoo, basil and salt... HEAVEN!

                          My all time fav way to do eggplant is breaded and fried... I eat them without the sauce on them just dry... but the diet makes me eat more roasted ep now...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MeffaBabe

                            I fully *just* had my first success with cooking eggplant so I totally sympathize. It can be so unpredictable. That said this method seems pretty foolproof and so easy, it is a variation of those already mentioned which uses the broiler.

                            Recipe and method are here:
                            http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com...

                            Also, another good sauce for it which is much lighter then the miso above is a mixture of lemon juice, soy sauce,olive oil and toasted sesame seeds. Yum