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Old 08-13-2007, 07:53 PM   #1
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ISO help/comments on cooking eggplant

i love eggplant and cook it often, using different methods and of course have varying results. hoping you can help me decode the cooking eggplant secrets.

about a week ago - i cut an eggplant into rounds, marinated the pieces in an oil and vinegar mixture and chilled them in the fridge for about 4 hours and then put them on the grill. I cooked them for a few minutes on each side until they had nice grill marks on them. then i chilled them for about another 3 hours and served them cold. they were great, albiet a little mushy.

tonight - i cut an eggplant into rounds, salted them and pressed them for about an hour. i had to go to the gym, so i rinsed off the salt and let them stand at room temp for 2 hrs while i went to the gym. came home and there was a ton of liquid in the plate, which I was surprised at since i rinsed the salt. so i drained the liquid and squeezed out the rounds, releasing more liquid. i then basted them with balsamic and put them on the grill for a few minutes on each side until they had nice grill marks on them. they came out a little tough (not bad though), it just felt like either i should have cooked them longer or marinated them.

what do you think?

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Old 08-13-2007, 11:15 PM   #2
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I like to slice into rounds and dip them in Extra Virgin Olive oil and minced fresh garlic and then grill them on a hot fire very yummy
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:05 AM   #3
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Or slice into rounds, sweat them, meal, and fry! They also make make great "french frys"

Enjoy!
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:21 AM   #4
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Maybe you want to rethink the refrigeration after cooking step..? Why not just eat them when they come off the grill?
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:25 AM   #5
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I prefer mine fried. As bob said, makes great faux fries.

I also just like it cubed, tossed in oil, a little sesame seeds, a little tomato paste, and oven roast. Add in with other veggies or you can puree for a nice dip spread a la babbaganush(sp*).
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:08 AM   #6
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My fav is fried but I have cooked them (cubed) with onions, peppers, tomatoes and chickpeas with whatever s&p,basil your choice. You could add chicken or vegatable broth to make it more liquid. Serve with some toasted bread slices. Once I layered the bottom of a large serving dish with thick slices of bread and poured it on top.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:33 AM   #7
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My husband loves baba ganoushe. We also love them cut into relatively thin rounds, brushed with olive oil and broiled or grilled, topped with a slice of tomato and some mozerella, and put on a bun. Come to think of that I haven't done the latter in ages.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:11 AM   #8
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baba for sure, ratatouille, caponata, (these last two can be served warm, room temp or chilled, and are great the next day) also use it in my pasta and lasagna ...so good.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:21 AM   #9
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Have you tried the slender Asian ones? We love them and I use them for everything including pizza.
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:30 PM   #10
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There are many schools of thought about grilling veggies. I love to do it but appear to be a maverick about it.

a) I NEVER marinate any vegetable for any reason at any time. Moisture + produce = mush. I put my veggies on the grill dry, then use a baste.

b) Re: Eggplant... Peel, slice into slices anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2" thick. I don't salt them. Grill on one side over medium heat, until dry looking on the grill side, probably 2-3 minutes. Flip the slice. Brush the slice with whatever oil, vin, herb, S&P mixture you use. Grill the other side 2-3 minutes. Flip the slice and brush that side with the baste. Grill only a short time once basted. HINT: You will start to see bubbles on the top side of the slice as it completes cooking. Be careful - eggplant scorches awfully fast.

c) Try this - grilled sweet potatoes. Slice washed, unpeeled sweet potatoes vertically, about 1/4" thick. Grill on both sides a few minutes dry as in eggplant procedure. For the baste, use REAL maple syrup, corn or canola oil and salt. Whenever I do grilled veggie platters, I have to make TONS of these because they fly off the platter.

Love to do onions, garlic and shallots in little foil packets with S&P, olive oil and chopped herbs - tuck into foil pack and throw in the back of the grill (NOT directly on the coals), turn occasionally. When you are done with all the veggies, they should be soft and sweet. I like to cut a Spanish onion into a sort of flower (cut all the way down STOP at the root). Once the onion is cooked, I place it in an Asian soup bowl which holds its shape nicely.
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiffonade
There are many schools of thought about grilling veggies. I love to do it but appear to be a maverick about it.

a) I NEVER marinate any vegetable for any reason at any time. Moisture + produce = mush. I put my veggies on the grill dry, then use a baste.

b) Re: Eggplant... Peel, slice into slices anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2" thick. I don't salt them. Grill on one side over medium heat, until dry looking on the grill side, probably 2-3 minutes. Flip the slice. Brush the slice with whatever oil, vin, herb, S&P mixture you use. Grill the other side 2-3 minutes. Flip the slice and brush that side with the baste. Grill only a short time once basted. HINT: You will start to see bubbles on the top side of the slice as it completes cooking. Be careful - eggplant scorches awfully fast.
Thanks for the tips on this chiffonade! I may need to rethink my veggie marinating and grilling techniques. I'm definitely going to try not salting them and putting them on the grill and basting (instead of the salt and then baste). the sweet potato fries sound awesome too.

Thanks to everyone for the other suggestions!
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healthyfoodie
Thanks for the tips on this chiffonade! I may need to rethink my veggie marinating and grilling techniques. I'm definitely going to try not salting them and putting them on the grill and basting (instead of the salt and then baste). the sweet potato fries sound awesome too.

Thanks to everyone for the other suggestions!
You're welcome. The sweet potato slices are incredible. Even people who don't like sweet potatoes like them.

I usually whip up a whole bowl of the Italian baste and use it on all the veggies except the sweet potatoes.

I can't remember ever doing it but next time I see radicchio and I know I'm grilling, I'm going to get some and give that a whirl with the Italian baste.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:16 PM   #13
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Best tip I ever recieved on cooking eggplant and it works really well:

Since eggplant is mostly made up of highly inflated cells with mositure and atmosphere/air in them, when you cook them in oil they tend to release the air and take in the oil. Also, there seems to be a lot of variation from eggplant to eggplant as to when they are "done." Try microwaving slices uncovered and with no oil on high until just collapsed and somewhat soft. Then, grill 'em, fry'em, add 'em to a casserole, whatever, the way you normally would (just add a little extra V olive oil, whatever suits the dish) ...they end up wonderfully tender, juicy and with much less absorbed fat. I swear by that technique.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:24 PM   #14
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I like to oven roast them with onions,tomatoes,zuchini,mushrooms and s&p the roasting first steams away the water and then they roast up nice.After roasting I mix in some garlic,italian herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar.Then I put the mixture on some nice bread with mozzarella and melt in the oven very much like a giant bruschetta sandwich.Or I toss it into some pasta with what ever else you want.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:30 PM   #15
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Oven roasting is great if you plan to make a spead or otherwise mash them...best way I know. What I like about the microwave precook is, you retain much of the structural integrity so you can do other things with it. I normally never use microwaves, it's just that this is one of those great applications where it works brilliantly.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:55 PM   #16
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Hi,

I make an Afghan dish with eggplant a lot that we like to eat with Lebanese bread (Pita Bread).

It's basically brush the eggplant slices (which have been presalted/washed) with olive oil (or vegetable oil) and cook them on really low on the stove so they cook through and go slightly brown on the outside (not black). It's one layer at a time cooked so takes a while depending on how much you are making.

Then you need a tomato sauce which for me is basically

- saute a big onion chopped into small pieces in some olive oil
- Add a can of tomato (chopped up) and a tbs or two of tomato paste
- Add salt and pepper (and I add a bit of chili powder)
- Add some water but you want it fairly thick.
- Cook on low for about 10 minutes and set aside

In another bown combine yoghurt and thin it out slightly with some water. Add crushed garlic and salt to taste

Then basically it's assembled together by placing the eggplant slices in a layer at the bottom of a dish. Then spread some tomato sauce on but not too much. Just a thin layer. Keep layering the eggplant slices and tomato sauce and finish off with the leftover tomato sauce on top. Then pour the yoghurt mixture on top of that.

I eat it warm but you can eat it cold later too. Sometimes the yoghurt/eggplant/etc releases water on the edges after a while. I don't really care about that but you could also empty it a bit if it does. I just mix it back into the sauce.

I love eggplant :)
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:15 PM   #17
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We have cooked eggplant as long as I can remember, my Mom usually fried them in a iron skillet, after peeling them, soaking them in salt solution for a short time, rinsing off, then dipping them in egg batter, rolling in cracker crumbs, and then frying till golden brown. (about 60 yrs. ago)

Today I'm trying to locate a good eggplant parmasean recipe.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:38 PM   #18
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Apart from Eggplant Parmegian (where I bake the eggplant slices, unbreaded, first rather than fry them), the following is my favorite way to enjoy eggplant.

Braised Eggplant, Szechuan Style

(Adapted from Madame Chu’s Chinese Cooking School by Grace Zia Chu

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, or several small oriental-type eggplants
2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, soaked in warm water to cover for 20 minutes
1 tablespoon hot Asian chili paste/sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 pound ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey)
Vegetable oil
Water
Wok or large skillet with a cover
White, brown, or Jasmine rice for serving

Preparation:

Slice eggplant, unpeeled, into approximately 1-1/2” thick slices, then cut the slices into quarters. Make 2 cuts not quite all the way through on each quarter. This will allow the eggplant pieces to cook quickly & evenly, as well as help them to absorb more of the sauce.

Drain the soaked fermented black beans & mash with the minced garlic to a rough paste. Add the chili paste, sugar, soy sauce, & ¼ cup cold water. Stir.

Cooking Procedure:

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok or large skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add ground meat & stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add minced ginger & continue stir frying for another minute. Add eggplant pieces & continue stir frying for another 5 minutes. Add in the sauce mixture & stir thoroughly until well mixed. Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of water over all, turn the heat down to low/medium low, cover, & allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until the eggplant pieces are tender to your preference. Serve hot over rice.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:46 PM   #19
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I understand that eggplant no longer needs to be salted. What do you think?
I never salt them, and let them stand.....and they're never, ever bitter.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:46 PM   #20
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I understand that eggplant no longer needs to be salted. What do you think?
I never salt them, and let them stand.....and they're never, ever bitter.
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