Guide on How to Cut an Eggplant
Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are a popular vegetable in many cuisines around the world. With their rich, meaty texture and mild flavor, eggplants are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from stews and curries to dips and spreads. But for many home cooks, the question remains: how do you cut an eggplant?
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of preparing an eggplant, from selecting the right one at the grocery store to cutting it into various shapes and sizes for your favorite dishes. We’ll also answer some common questions about eggplants and share some tips for cooking with this delicious vegetable.
Selecting an Eggplant
Before you can cut an eggplant, you need to choose the right one.
Look for eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size, with smooth, shiny skin.
Avoid eggplants with wrinkled or dull skin, as this can be a sign of age or poor quality.
The stem should be green and fresh-looking, and the eggplant should feel heavy for its size.
Cutting an Eggplant
Once you’ve selected your eggplant, it’s time to start cutting. First, rinse the eggplant under cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Then, use a sharp knife to cut off the stem and discard it. Next, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, from top to bottom.
At this point, you may be wondering: do you cut the skin off eggplant?
The answer is no, you don’t have to. The skin of an eggplant is perfectly edible and contains valuable nutrients, so there’s no need to remove it.
However, if you prefer a smoother texture in your dish, you can peel the eggplant using a vegetable peeler.
Once you’ve sliced the eggplant in half, you can cut it into various shapes and sizes, depending on your recipe. Here are some common cuts:
- Cubes: Cut the eggplant halves into cubes, about 1 inch in size. This is a great option for stews, curries, and stir-fries.
- Slices: Cut the eggplant halves into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. This is a good option for grilling, roasting, or frying.
- Wedges: Cut the eggplant halves into wedges, about 1 inch wide at the widest part. This is a nice option for roasting or grilling.
Do you eat the seeds in eggplant?
Yes, you can. Eggplant seeds are perfectly edible and contain some valuable nutrients, including fiber.
However, if you prefer a smoother texture in your dish, you can remove the seeds by cutting the eggplant into slices or wedges and then cutting out the seed-filled middle section.
Do you have to soak eggplant before cooking?
It’s not necessary, but some people like to soak eggplant in salt water before cooking to remove any bitterness.
To do this, cut the eggplant into the desired shape and size, then sprinkle salt over the surface and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
Rinse the eggplant thoroughly under cold water before using it in your recipe.
How should I prepare eggplant?
Eggplant can be prepared in a variety of ways, depending on your taste and the recipe you’re using.
Some common cooking methods include grilling, roasting, frying, and sautéing.
Eggplant also works well in stews, curries, and dips.
One important thing to keep in mind when cooking eggplant is that it absorbs oil like a sponge, so you may need to use a generous amount of oil when cooking it.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can also try roasting or grilling eggplant with just a little bit of oil or no oil at all.
One of the most popular ways to prepare eggplant is by making baba ganoush, a Middle Eastern dip made with roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.
To make baba ganoush, start by roasting a whole eggplant until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft.
Let it cool, then remove the skin and chop the flesh into small pieces. Mix the eggplant with the other ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Another delicious way to use eggplant is by making moussaka, a Greek dish made with layers of eggplant, ground beef or lamb, tomato sauce, and béchamel sauce.
To make moussaka, slice the eggplant into rounds and salt them to remove any bitterness.
Brown the ground meat in a pan, then add tomato sauce and spices. Layer the eggplant and meat mixture in a baking dish, then top with béchamel sauce and bake until golden brown.
Final Thoughts on How to Cut an Eggplant
Cutting an eggplant doesn’t have to be difficult.
With a few simple steps, you can prepare this versatile vegetable for a variety of dishes.
Remember to choose a firm, heavy eggplant with smooth, shiny skin, and to cut it into the desired shape and size for your recipe.
Whether you’re making baba ganoush, moussaka, or another eggplant dish, this delicious vegetable is sure to add flavor and texture to your cooking.