How to Cook Eggplant to Perfection

Editor's Note: Natalia is the founder of MAZA Cooking Journal, a new cookbook for iPad. Natalia's grilled eggplant recipe has received 20K repins on Pinterest. Download the journal for free from the iTunes store here. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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There are many ways to cook eggplant: grill it, bake it, steam it, simmer it, or cook it in a stew. Whichever way you decide to prepare it, the result will be always the same: innocent addiction that knows no bound. 

Incredibly delicious in taste and creamy in texture, eggplant is one of the best ingredients to cook in the summer ingredients. Almost every family has their own way for how to prepare eggplant, a recipe they are collectively proud of. Some prefer to season pieces of eggplant with salt to take out the water out before cooking, some cook it with the skin on, others prefer it without the skin. Ultimately, there is no correct answer, there are so many ways to enjoy eggplant.

Given how awkward eggplant looks, what is so appealing about it? Eggplant is the playground for the imaginations of chefs and grandmas. Its simplicity makes it a great tool in the hands of creative cooks.

Let’s begin with the look: an endlessly seductive aubergine (dark purple) color, so unique that it has become a trade mark in the fashion industry. Next, the feel: Eggplant's skin is silky and glossy to the touch, and its shape is rounded, yet elongated. The cap is green-brown, running its tentacles down the body; so futuristic, yet so earthy.

(Tip: When you're buying an eggplant, try to choose based on the shiny color. Your eggplant should have no dark spots, and it should not be too firm in touch, nor too soft. Touch the meat of the eggplant to determine whether it's ripe and ready to be cooked.) 

I prefer my grandmother's recipe, baked on an open fire. Preparing the eggplant in this way brings a deep smoky taste and renders the texture smooth as velvet. Once you prepare eggplant, you can use it for different dishes – babaganush, eggplant caviar, ratatouille, or baked tomatoes. 

You can even serve the eggplant as it is, just cut it in half lengthwise and serve with yogurt tahini sauce on the side.

Roasted Eggplant With Yogurt Tahini Sauce
 

6 Servings

Ingredients

3 Baby Eggplants

For the yogurt-tahini sauce:

½ cup plain yougurt
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1garlic clove
Salt to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400F. To make the yogurt-tahini sauce, combine the yogurt, tahini paste, and the garlic clove in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add 3-4 tablespoons water until the mixture becomes smoother and airy in texture. Season with salt to taste.

Place the eggplant, whole, on a baking pan and bake for 40 min. Once cooked through, cut eggplant into two pieces, lengthwise in half. Place each eggplant half on a serving plate and add some of the tasty yogurt sauce on top.

If you're hungry for more, check out these other eggplant ideas from MAZA Cooking Journals: babaganusheggplant caviarbaked tomatoes.