NOTE: It’s come up several times in these pages that when it comes to cooking, technique is the thing. Being able to follow a recipe is a skill in and of itself and a very important one; however, at a certain point that method stops teaching you much. To go further, you must master techniques and incorporate them into your cooking (for example, I recommend taking this method of preparing eggplant and using it to replace any technique for cooking eggplant you see in any recipe that calls for eggplant). You’ll be immediately improving whatever you’re making and putting your own chefly stamp on the recipe.
For Portable Chef I evaluate cooking techniques by deliciousness, foolproofiness, and efficiency of preparation, traits valued by many a home cook as well. Enjoy!
Sometimes, I think about what would happen if we lived our lives not chronologically, but sorted out by activity.
So you’d get all your sleep in (25 years’ worth) in a row, every trip to Disneyland, all the sex you’re going to have – all in a row.
One thing’s clear: such an existence would totally suck. I mean, can you imagine spending a solid year waiting on line? (and you would; 20 minutes a day for 72 years would do that). a month tying and untying shoelaces? Two years commuting? A week and a half of listening to “Stairway to Heaven?” Even a few months of solid laughter doesn’t sound that appealing.
RELEVANCE ALERT: Well, salting eggplant would probably only take up a couple of days on such a list, but that is a couple of days too long. I have good news: consider one bit of tedium wiped off the map. From this day forth, you can scratch off “waiting for my eggplant to salt” from the list.
For whatever reason, the way I learned it, preparation of eggplant has always involved cutting up and salting in a colander. This was a given, and while I enjoyed eggplant as a kid (thanks, Mom) I quickly gave it up when I started cooking for myself. Too much time and effort. And on top of that, eggplant soaked up oil like nobody’s business. To spend an hour waiting around to cook a vegetable* that ends up greasy as hell seemed like time that could be better spent elsewhere, like watching the Yankees play a mid-August game against the Kansas City Royals, playing some more Zork, or… whatever.
No longer. This incredibly simple way to make eggplant requires no salting and requires just the right amount of oil for cooking as it does for flavor and texture. Win-win-win-win-win.
Whoomp! There it is. This is delicious as is as a side vegetable, which is how I almost always have it. But it’s excellent chopped up with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese over pasta. And use this in ratatouille, eggplant parmigiana, moussaka, or any other dishes that call for eggplant.
*I just realized, just now, just this moment, that my three favorite vegetables – eggplant, mushrooms, and tomatoes – share the trait that they aren’t, in fact, vegetables.