Eggplant is available in a range of shapes
and colors, from small white balls to enormous purple-black specimens. For
the best results, whether you intend to roast, pan-fry or grill eggplant,
be sure the vegetable is properly handled. Eggplant will discolor once
cut, so be sure to work quickly.
Large eggplants can become bitter, as can
large cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash. To reduce bitterness, many
chefs believe that eggplant (as well as cucumbers and summer squash)
should be salted as follows -
Slice the ends from the eggplant and discard
or slice it in half from one end to the other (depending on the size of
the eggplant). Slice or score the eggplant as required by recipe or
Scatter salt liberally over the eggplant,
tossing slices to coat them evenly.
Place the eggplant in a colander or
perforated hotel pan, and (optional) weight the eggplant to help expel its
juices. Generally speaking, a few hours is sufficient to draw off any
Rinse the eggplant well to remove the salt,
dry thoroughly and then proceed with cooking.
Eggplant responds well to roasting. The
flesh becomes extremely soft with an appetizing flavor and aroma. To
prepare the eggplant for roasting, proceed as follow -
Slice the eggplant in half.
Score it in a diamond pattern, cutting
through most of the flesh, but leaving the skin intact.
If desired, rub the cut surface with some
Roast the eggplant cut-side down until
softened but not browned.
Turn the eggplant cut-side up and continue
to roast until the flesh is very soft. It is now ready to puree. If
desired, the flesh can be strained after pureeing.