Are you curious about how to cook eggplant? Sauteed eggplant is a tasty side dish and it isn’t difficult to do. Below you will learn everything that you need to know about sauteing eggplant including how to salt it first.
Eggplant can be quite intimidating for new cooks. It is used in types of dishes but if it is cooked properly it can stand alone as a delicious dish.
For most of my life, I stayed away from the eggplant. It is beautiful sitting out on a countertop but eating it wasn’t something that I wanted.
But it turns out it is a wonderful meat replacement. So if you are looking for something for your meatless Monday this may be the perfect food for you.
Do you need to peel eggplant?
You don’t need to peel eggplant. The skin of an eggplant is completely edible but do be sure to wash it first. This is purely a decision based upon taste. The larger eggplants are often peeled because the skin is a bit tough but the smaller eggplants are generally perfectly fine.
Tips on choosing an eggplant
Here are a few tips for picking out an eggplant at the store. Pick it up and take a good look at it. The stem should be green and the skin should be firm and brightly colored.
- First, pick it up and note if it seems heavy for its size. A good eggplant will feel heavier than it.
- Choose smaller eggplants. They will taste better and their skin will not be as tough. This way you can avoid needing to skin it before cooking.
- Pick out beautiful eggplants. It should be bright in color and smooth in appearance. If it is bruised or discolored avoid it.
- Give it a squeeze. It should feel a bit firm. You don’t want it to be solid as a rock but you also don’t want it to be squishy.
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Do you have to prepare eggplant before cooking?
There is a popular question of whether or not you should soak and salt eggplant before cooking it. Salting eggplant can help draw out some of the moisture so that it will cook up without becoming soggy. It can also help tenderize the flesh if you want to avoid peeling it. However, it does take about an hour to do and so if you plan to do this, be sure to plan ahead.
How to salt eggplant
If you are curious, salting eggplant isn’t a complicated process but it does take about an hour for it to have an impact.
- Cut the eggplant into slices or dices.
- Place the eggplant slices in a colander
- Sprinkle the eggplant with generous amounts of salt. Be sure to evenly distribute the salt onto both sides of the fruit.
- Allow it to sit in the sink for an hour.
- Spread the eggplant across paper towels. Wipe away as much of the salt as you can.
- Lay more paper towels across the top of the eggplant slices. Press down on the eggplants to remove excess moisture.
Can you saute eggplant in advance?
I would not recommend sauteeing eggplant in advance. It is best served freshly cooked. However, you can and should prepare the eggplant in advance. If you plan to peel the eggplant do so in advance. Then cut it into diced chunks. Finally, salt the eggplant for an hour prior to cooking it.
Optional ingredients for sauteed eggplant
You will notice below that our recipe includes minced garlic but there are so many delicious herbs and spices that you mix in with your eggplant when sauteing it. Below we share a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you. Mix and match them together to create interesting dishes that are creative for the tastebuds. For example, consider cayenne pepper and cashews sauteed in with your eggplant.
- Cayenne pepper
- Soy sauce
- Romano cheese
- Lemon juice
- 1 medium Eggplant
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut it into ¼” thick diced chunks.
- Transfer it to a colander over your sink. Pour salt on the eggplant and stir it around to make sure that all sides have been covered. Allow it to sit for one hour in the sink.
- Lay some paper towels on your countertop and spread out the eggplant pieces. Using the paper towels rub off as much of the salt as you can.
- Cover the eggplant pieces with another paper towel and gently squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Mince the garlic.
Cook the eggplant:
- Please a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once the skillet is hot add the olive oil.
- Add in the eggplant with the hot olive oil.
- Spread the eggplant out in the pan and stir to coat the fruit. (Note that you don’t want the eggplant to be stacked. If you need to do so because of space, saute the eggplant in batches. )
- Cook the eggplant for about 3 minutes on each side.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Salting the eggplant is optional but recommended.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g