Prepping and cooking eggplant couldn’t be easier. Even if you want to “sweat” them as you’ve read about, it’s super simple and only adds thirty passive minutes to your cooking time.
Many people hesitate to cook with eggplant because the sweating part seems mysterious. The first thing you should know is that sweating is unnecessary, but is always an option. Some people taste bitterness when eating eggplant, so they sweat the eggplant to reduce the bitterness (I’ve never tasted any bitterness.) Especially if you use eggplant in stews or casseroles, there is no need to sweat it. Even if you are baking eggplant slices, you can put the eggplant pieces directly into the dish, with no special prep.
Besides possible bitterness, sweating the eggplant can also leave the slices less watery and less mushy after cooking. If you would like to try sweating an eggplant, first wash it and cut off both ends. You can cut slices crosswise or lengthwise. A good thickness is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
To salt them, place your colander over a plate, a bowl, or in the sink. Layer the eggplant slices in the colander, salting each layer before adding the next. Leave the salted layers in the colander for 30 minutes. Pat them dry, then place the eggplant slices a few at a time between layers of paper towels, gently squeezing. And that’s it! Your eggplant slices are ready to cook. You can try using eggplant sweated and unsweated to see if you can taste a difference.
One good reason to use eggplant in vegetable casseroles or veggie roasting is that it’s so easy to prep. Eggplant is typically prepared with the peeling left on. If you are baking eggplant slices, you need that peeling to hold the soft vegetable together after it’s cooked.
Cubing or slicing eggplant is very straightforward. Just remove both ends of the eggplant, then to cube it, cut it down the center, then cut each half into cubes of any size. The seeds don’t need to be removed, either! Easy!
I’ve included two basic baked eggplant recipes below. You might also like to try making Easy Traditional Ratatouille with cubed eggplant.