5 tips on how to make eggplants taste great
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is one of my favourite vegetables, but you really need to know how to cook it correctly to achieve the best texture and taste.
Here are 5 quick and easy tips on how to make eggplant taste great:
- Trust – Follow your instincts and take the right eggplant home. Quality is key here. When selecting an eggplant, choose one that is vibrant in colour, heavy for its size, relatively firm and with little to no imperfections.
- Taste – Focus on flavour as eggplant thrives on seasoning. You will be rewarded with a delicious meal if you embrace the idea of seasoning with salt, pepper, herbs and spices. My favourite seasonings include ginger, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, oregano, Italian herbs, paprika or soy sauce. If you have a favourite, give it a try! Score eggplant slices with a knife, making shallow indents before adding the seasoning. Some people prefer to season with salt to draw out any moisture, but I don’t find it necessary. Scoring also helps in the cooking process.
- Texture - Eggplant slices are like sponges and if you cook them in too much oil, the taste is not pleasant. Without any oil and it can be dry and rubbery. You don’t want it too mushy or to have a sponge-like texture either. To maintain control and reduce the amount of oil used, try drizzling or brushing eggplant slices with a small amount of oil before cooking. You could also add breadcrumbs to help reduce the amount of oil absorbed.
- Technique - Embrace the grilling or barbecue (BBQ) technique. Grilling eggplant slices about 1cm thick on a hot BBQ also results in gorgeous grill lines that can add interest to any plate. Try roasting them sliced, whole or in wedges in the oven or even sliced in a sandwich press for a quick alternative to frying. For those preferring to use the stove, set the temperature to low. It takes longer, but the end result is a healthier version that’s sure to please.
- Timing – Timing is everything and to ensure your eggplant cooks well, don’t overcrowd it in a dish when roasting. If cooking on the stove, be sure to toss part way through the cooking process, so it cooks evenly.
A delicious winter dish that I have always enjoyed is the vegetarian version of this Traditional Egyptian eggplant moussaka*, which has been passed down through the generations of my family. Check it out and I hope you enjoy it too!
For more great recipe ideas, type your vegetable or cuisine in the search bar or check out Salapedia.