Tomatoes get all the love during summer’s peak, and while I do adore them, I really fall for eggplant this time of year. The most common of them are the large deep-purple ones called black beauty, or sometimes globe eggplants. A trip to your local farmers market will reveal the many other varieties that abound — Fairy Tale, Turkish, Japanese and Italian are just a few of them.
When working with the large globe eggplants, it’s important to salt them. This helps remove any bitterness and draws out extra moisture from the eggplant. Fried eggplant was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, and it’s something my daughters love now. Nowadays I alternate between frying eggplant on the stovetop and making this crispy baked version for a healthier way to fulfill our cravings. Here are five more ways to enjoy eggplant while it’s in season.
How to Salt Eggplant: Slice the eggplant and stack the slices in layers on a flat dish or pan. Sprinkle salt on each layer and rest another flat dish or pan on top. Weigh the dish down with a cast-iron pan or a heavy-bottomed pot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. When you remove the pan, you’ll notice all the water that has released. Transfer the eggplant to a colander and rinse the slices thoroughly under cold water to remove any remaining salt. Pat them dry before cooking in whatever recipe you’re using.
1. Eggplant Chips by Food Network Magazine (pictured above)
4. Babaganoush (Roasted Eggplant Spread)