Don't Make The Mistake Of Cooking Eggplant In Too Much Fat

Eggplant is an underrated star in cuisine all around the world, from Italy and the Mediterranean to the Middle East and South Asia. But the unique aspects of this meaty, mild, earthy vegetable mean you've got to exercise a bit of caution when cooking it. Otherwise, you may suffer from a common error involving the fat you're using to cook it.

This easy-to-make mistake is simple: using too much fat. While you'll need some butter or oil to help the eggplant cook properly, the risk comes from how readily the vegetable absorbs it. Raw eggplant can act like a sponge, soaking in prodigious amounts of fat and leaving your pan looking dry. Some see this and add additional oil and butter beyond what the recipe calls for. But this causes an extra-greasy, unpleasant texture in the final product that can also dramatically increase the calories.

Instead, you should trust your recipe and stick to the prescribed amount of oil, even if it seems to soak into the eggplant too quickly. Cook as directed and be mindful of your heat, and you'll end up with a delicious, perfectly tender, not-too-oily final product.

Making the most of your eggplant

Using too much fat when cooking eggplant can dramatically increase the calories in this otherwise low-cal vegetable — not to mention cancel out some of the other nutritious benefits of eggplant, like notable levels of fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C.

However, too much fat isn't the only mistake everyone makes when cooking eggplant. One closely related one is failing to salt your eggplant before cooking. Sprinkling the pieces with a bit of salt draws out excess water, helping it cook more evenly and, in the case of fried eggplant, more crisply. Many also believe salting eggplant and letting it rest before cooking reduces the bitterness that can sometimes be present in the vegetable. Other frequent errors involve using the wrong type of eggplant for the recipe or storing them in the fridge instead of at room temperature, which can degrade them.

Now that you know how to make the most of this delicious and unique vegetable, you can put your new knowledge to work by making some eggplant recipes even meat eaters will love.