Monday, August 31, 2015


Eggplants have tiny air-holes throughout just like sponges have. In the kitchen, that’s good, these little holes absorb and retain flavors. But they also soak up oil when fried and even more so if you fry eggplant slices at incorrect temperature.

Usual ideal frying temperature is 375 degrees at which temperature there is enough outward pressure of steam generated within the eggplant to keep much of the oil out. If you fry them at much higher temperature, the eggplant slices will burn outside and not get cooked inside. Coating with breading also tends to reduce the amount of absorbed oil.

Even though fried eggplant is wonderful I rarely fry them. Frying is a messy kitchen project and, like most of us, I try to keep rich oily foods away from the dinner table. If I need fried eggplant slices for a recipe (like moussaka), I brush oil on both sides of the eggplant slices and brown them in hot  450-degree oven until they get a nice brownish color.

I often use either one of two methods to serve eggplant. If I am planning to grill on the barbecue, I cut thick eggplant slices, brush both sides with vegetable or olive oil and place these directly on the hot grill. After about 6 minutes it’s time to turn them over to brown the second slice.

If I don’t use the grill, I bread thick eggplant slices dipping them in beaten eggs and breadcrumbs (I omit the flour since eggplants are pretty dry), brush both sides with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in 450-degree oven for about 30 minutes, flipping slices over halfway through.

Many recipes call for salting eggplant slices for an hour to draw out extra moisture. This is no longer necessary. Eggplants used to have a bitterish component that salting drew out but in today’s eggplant hybrids that’s no longer true. You save an extra unnecessary step by omitting this.

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