Many of you out there might be intimidated by eggplants and wonder how to cook them. While there are many ways to eat eggplants, this post is referring only to how to cook eggplants so you can use them to make eggplant salads.
How To Cook Eggplants
There are different ways to cook eggplants. I used them all, and they all work. It all depends on whatever your possibilities are and the time of year.
However, each method has an effect on the taste of the eggplant salad that you will, for sure, notice.
In many cultures, the most traditional way to cook eggplants is over an open fire or grilled.
If you have access to a grill, this is the best option. The traditional Romanian way, for example, is to grill them over an open fire (fire grill) versus a gas grill, as the smoke from the wood brings a beautiful flavor to the eggplants.
If you use a grill, and I recommend a fire grill, bring the temperature of the grill between medium-low to low. If it is too hot, the eggplants will burn on the outside before the inside is cooked.
Pierce the eggplants in a few places (so they don’t explode while cooking) and grill them on each side, turning them regularly until the skin is burned.
Depending on their size, you should grill the eggplants somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes or until the skin is evenly charred and the eggplant collapses. The flesh should be really soft.
The eggplant salad made with grilled eggplants will taste really smoky and delicious!
If you have a gas stove:
This is the fastest method of roasting eggplants. It only takes about 10-15 minutes for a medium eggplant.
The taste of the eggplants roasted on the stovetop is smoky as well, a bit milder than the grilled one, but still totally delicious.
Lay some aluminum foil around the burners of the stovetop to ensure that the liquid released by the eggplants won’t cause too much of a mess.
Turn regularly with a pair of tongs, making sure that the skin is burnt on all sides. Cook until the skin is evenly charred and the flesh of the eggplants very soft.
Remove them from the fire and let them rest on a tray for a few minutes before you start peeling the skin off.
Unfortunately, since I moved to the United States and each apartment is equipped with a fire alarm, I cannot grill the eggplants on top of the stove anymore unless I want the fire department at my door, which brings me to the next method, the one that I use most of the time:
Bake the eggplants in the oven:
This is the most convenient method of cooking eggplants for salad.
Place the eggplants on a baking tray lined with baking paper or tin foil and prick the eggplants with a fork several times.
Bake them in a preheated oven at 200C/ 400 F for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the eggplants is very soft.
Cooked this way, the eggplants will not be smoky but mild and sweet.
See the soft flesh of the eggplant? Delicious!
After grilling, roasting, or baking the eggplants, let them cool, then carefully remove all the skin. Place the eggplants in a sieve and let drain for about half an hour to one hour.
This step will remove the juice from the eggplant that is supposed to be bitter. After this step, your eggplants are ready to be used in dips or salads. Keep scrolling so you can see some of my favorite recipes made with eggplant.
Fact: Do you know that eggplant is known in Europe under the name of aubergine? Check this out!
More recipes to love:
Grilled Eggplant And Bell Pepper Salad
Romanian Vegetable Spread-Zacusca
Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad
Perfect Sunday With Friends And Family
Learn how to make delicious salads using roasted or grilled eggplants(aubergines).
Authentic Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad- Salata De Vinete is a delicious summer salad/spread that can be served on fresh bread with tomatoes and sometimes Feta cheese.
Grilled eggplant and bell pepper salad is a wonderful recipe to make all year long when you have eggplants and peppers available. Perfect as appetizer, or a snack served on slices of good crusty bread, this salad makes a handsome option for entertaining.
This Romanian vegetable spread-Zacusca, as we call it in Romanian, is something I would make every year, at the end of the summer. It is a combination of roasted eggplant, roasted peppers, fresh tomato juice or paste, and onions, all slowly cooked together to perfection.