As a child, I was never a fan of eggplant. It was one of those vegetables that only grownups liked and seemed too healthy and purple to taste good. However, I developed a sweet spot for eggplant while I was in China and discovered fish-fragrant eggplant (鱼香茄子) which despite its slightly gross-sounding name, is delectable and doesn’t actually contain fish.
The trouble with eggplant is that it’s hard to cook. The skin is tough and its spongy texture can mean that it absorbs tons of oil, making you feel like you’re biting into the paper towel you use to clean bacon grease out of a pan. (Although if you’re wasting bacon grease like that, you need to reevaluate your life.)
The solution? Purging eggplant. No, purging isn’t some sort of horror movie where we attack all eggplants through violent crime. It just means that you salt and drain it before cooking it, which ensures a delicious silky texture.
It’s super easy: cut your eggplant into whatever shape you’d like to cook it in, coat all the sides in salt, and let it sit for about a half hour. If you want to get fancy, you can put it on a rack over a cookie sheet or into a colander, but I usually just set it on a plate and it works fine. When you’re ready to cook it, simply rinse it off and you’re good to go!