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 in salads or dips.
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 certainly notice.
In many cultures, the most traditional way to cook eggplants is over an open fire or grill.
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 and 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!
Gas stove method
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:
This is the most convenient method of cooking eggplants to make a 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!
How to clean the eggplants
After grilling, roasting, or baking the eggplants, let them cool, then carefully remove all the skin. Use a knife or just your fingers to peel the charred skin. Put a bowl with warm water next to you so you can clean your hands once in a while.
Place the eggplants in a sieve and let them drain for about half an hour to one hour.
By following this step, you can eliminate the bitter juice present in some eggplants. When the juices are gone, your eggplants are ready to be used in dips or salads.
Fact: Do you know that eggplant is known in Europe under the name of aubergine? Check this out!
How to store roasted eggplants
- Allow the roasted eggplant to cool completely. This will prevent condensation and maintain its texture.
- Place the cooled roasted eggplant in an airtight container. You can use a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Chop or cut it smaller. If the roasted eggplant is large, you can cut it into smaller pieces or slices before storing it. This will make it easier to use later.
- Seal the container tightly to ensure no air can enter. This will help prevent oxidation and maintain the quality of the roasted eggplant.
- Label the container with the date of storage to keep track of its freshness.
- Place the container in the refrigerator. Roasted eggplant can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
- Freeze. Alternatively, if you want to store the roasted eggplant for a longer period, you can freeze it. Place the flesh of the eggplant in a freezer-safe bag. Properly stored, roasted eggplant can last in the freezer for up to 3 months. In fact, freezing the eggplants for the winter is a great idea, as you can use them to make a salad in no time.
Recipes with roasted eggplant:
Cedar Plank Salmon on Mixed Greens(With Eggplant)
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