Something Swedish

Cooking Eggplant: “Aubergine”

15 Comments

My dad always says you can judge a pizzeria by the quality of its eggplant, weather its on a pizza, on a hero, or eggplant parmesan. So, when I had the craving to make eggplant for dinner last week I felt a bit of pressure for quality and knew it is a dish that can turn out less than good. I didn’t let that stop me as eggplant is one of my favorite foods and I’ve wanted it ever since spotting some in the city square market.

I learned that the first key to good eggplant is draining out the bitterness. Once you cut them (And peel, if you choose)  you sprinkle salt on each piece to make it sweat out a dark juice. This meant having two colanders sitting around and waiting for 30-60 minutes for each one, then rotating in the next batch.

Something to do in advance, before you are actually prepping or else it will feel incredibly stressful and tedious to wait for since you can’t do much else until after it is done. Make sure to pat them completely dry with paper towels when you are finished. You can set up the bowls for breadcrumbs with flour &  seasoning and one for the beaten egg. Don’t forget to set up an area with paper towels to place the eggplant on to absorb the access oil.

The second key is the thickness of the slices. They should be 1/4 – 1/2 inch (between .6 and 1 cm) and all uniform thickness to cook evenly. I think I cut mine a little bit too thick, on the 1/2 side.  As you can see in the photo above I must have gotten tired because I had a monstrously thick slice in the mix. Don’t do that :)

I think next time I will cut the slices length wise instead, should make it easier and quicker- both to fry and to place in the dish.

When I finished frying up each slice of eggplant (2-3 minutes on each side in oil) I realized that while this is one of my favorites my husband might not like it, ya know…since there is no meat! When he came home and saw the cooking process (aka, The Big Mess) he asked what I was making and “Is that all?” I could tell he was hesitant.

Over all it is a pretty time consuming dish to make and I have to admit I was frustrated and found it tedious by the end. Now that I know what to expect though it won’t be so bad.

Thankfully it was a success and he admitted that he was sad to have a vegetarian meal but that he liked it a lot and it was better than he expected. Overall the dish came out yummy enough to put up with the peeling/draining/frying process, (and the mess) the rest is easy – just make sure you have enough sauce!

Is eggplant a common food in Sweden? I was a little surprised to see it at the city market but I don’t recall ever seeing it where I buy groceries. Does anyone else have any eggplant recipes to share? Suggestions? Eggplant parm had to find its way into my recipe book- I’m looking on improving it before then though!

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15 thoughts on “Cooking Eggplant: “Aubergine”

  1. I used to hate eggplant, that is until I had my mother in laws. Now I love it!

    One of my favourites was to have it is fried with garlic yoghurt on top… So yummy!

    I’ll be posting another eggplant recipe on Monday on my blog…

    Your pictures look amazing, I will be making this very soon!

  2. You just made one pregnant chick very, very happy. And hungry.

  3. How delicious your eggplant looks! And your dad is right — I judge any new Italian place by its Eggplant Parmiagiana. And if they don’t offer it, it just ain’t Italian to me. My favorite dish! Thanks for sharing your tips!

  4. I’ve never had that! When you guys move into a bigger place, you’ll have to cook it for us! :-D

    • Yes! Would love to :D Everything I make I always cook enough for 6 servings, left overs are nice but things never heat up the same – I will just have to start inviting people over to eat! :) (or learn how to cook smaller meals!)

  5. This is my very favorite meal of all! Eggplant parmigiana, sliced thin, with mozzarella cheese over sauce. On the side, some pasta or, my favorite, angel hair and fresh grated cheese — and what else could one want?? You don’t need meat every day of the week, and this is one taste delight you seem to have mastered with the help of your dad! Wonderful, Megan-girl!

    • I was so happy to have some eggplant, dad and I usually buy an eggplant hero a few times a month so I was craving it! Next time I’ll serve it with pasta- I got a little too lazy at the end and forgot! I agree- I don’t need meat every day, but hubby does LOL. I will try the weight and the crispy veggie. Do you normally put flour in the breadcrumb mix? I read a few different ways to do it, I tried it with flour and it was so messy!

  6. By the way, after I soak the eggplant to remove the ‘bitterness’ I squeeze the liquid out of it or press it out with a heavy weight on top of it. This makes the e.p. even sweeter. Also, if you run out of sauce and cheese, but still have eggplant left, slice it up and fry it in olive oil until a little ‘crisp’ and just eat it as a sauceless vegetable! Once you start eating it, you won’t be able to stop — delish!

  7. Looks delicious and I will try it out! I often cook with eggplant, things like moussaka, roasted in the oven or on the bbq, or I make baba ganoush, a Middle Eastern aubergine créme. Recipe for that one is coming up soon on my blog!

  8. I tried adding flour a couple of times, with the breadcrumbs, but it got mixed reviews from other eggplant lovers, so I decided: “Why mess with success?” Ha, ha I give you lots of credit for being able to make this dish within so little space! It takes up so much room and is rather messy . . . but so worth it!

  9. Your pictures made my mouth water! Looks like you did a really fine job. And I love the “cooking process (aka,The Big Mess)” Sounds like another husband I know!

    Do you have a grill or a broiler, Meg? You can cook the eggplant whole until it looks charred and soft. Let it cool and then scrap the pulp out of the skin. Mash it up with some Tahini (sesame paste) salt and roasted garlic cloves. (Cut a head of garlic half and put a little olive oil over the cut side. Wrap it up in foil and put it in the oven until it gets soft and nutty.) So delicious with pita bread!

    Keep on cooking, girl. You’re making me proud!

  10. Pingback: Another New Year « Something Swedish

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