Eggplants, or aubergines as they’re also known, are a gorgeous veg. Plump, glossy and purply black, they’re a work of art even before they hit the plate. If you’re a fan of eggplant but not sure how to coax out its tender side, read on. Here are some tips and hints on how to cook eggplant, its health benefits as well as an easy eggplant parmigiana you’ll want for dinner.
Do you need to salt eggplant before cooking?
Salting eggplant is a hangover from when eggplants were a lot more bitter and salt them would help to release the bitter juices.
These days, eggplants have been bred to be less bitter so this step is not necessary. It doesn’t hurt to salt an eggplant if you have the time. It does help to make the eggplant less spongy in texture when cooked.
To salt an eggplant, slice it as you would for cooking, then place it in a colander lined with paper towel and cover the cut surfaces with salt. Set aside for up to an hour, pressing to release any water. Then rinse off salt and pat dry.
How to cook eggplant
When you take salting out of the equation, prepping and cooking eggplant is easy.
You don’t even have to peel it, however if your eggplant is older, then the skin may be more bitter, so peeling is advised.
Eggplant flesh is super absorbent and takes on the flavours of the dish well. So it is delicious and meltingly tender when slow cooked in a curry or casserole.
Crumbed and fried slices of eggplant make a great substitute for chicken in a parmigiana. Or even as an addition to a chicken parmi.
Health benefits of eggplants
As with other purple fruit and veg, eggplant is high in that purple power antioxidant: anthocyanin. This helps with brain health and cognitive function. This antioxidant, along with chlorogenic acid, help to protect your cells from free radicals, helping to reduce the risk of cancer.
Cholorogenic acid has also been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Add this to all the usual vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, B6 to name a few.
Get cooking and try eggplant in these recipes, including this fast and fabulous eggplant parmigiana.
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