One of the easiest ways to cook eggplant is to simply roast it in the oven—it uses a lot less oil than frying, but you still end up with the same tender, sweet flesh and silky texture. In this video, you'll learn a mostly hands-off way to roast eggplant so it's not at all oily or bitter.
The first step is to salt the eggplant to draw out some of the moisture. Eggplant has a tendency to suck up oil like a sponge when you cook it, and this helps reduce its ability to absorb the oil.
Cut the eggplant in half and score the flesh pretty deeply with the tip of your knife in a cross-hatch pattern. Don't cut all the way through to the skin, but do cut fairly close to it. And you can keep the cuts pretty large.
Press on the edges of the halves to open the cuts and sprinkle kosher salt over the surface and into the cuts.
Let the eggplant sit cut side up for about 30 minutes while the salt draws out the water. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Looking for more ways to cook eggplant? Read How to Cook Eggplant to Tender, Silky Perfection for recipes and tips on roasting, grilling, and frying eggplant.
You won't necessarily see a lot of water on the surface after a half an hour, so you'll want to gently squeeze the eggplant out over the sink or a bowl. That will remove quite a bit of water from the eggplant.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
After you've patted the eggplant dry, brush the cut sides generously with olive oil. Set the eggplant on a parchment lined baking sheet—again, cut side down—on top of one or two sprigs of thyme. This gently flavors the eggplant as it roasts.
Put the sheet in a 400 degree oven and wait.
It takes about an hour for the eggplant to fully roast. The eggplant will collapse and the flesh on the bottom will turn a dark brown, caramelly color. After roasting, let the eggplants cool for at least 20 minutes before handling.
Simply roasted eggplant is perfect for making Baba Ghanouj or other dips, or you can just drizzle it with a little vinaigrette and serve it as is for a delicious side dish.
Want more ideas for roasted eggplant? Check out all our roasted eggplant recipes.
Videography by Gary Junken and Michael Dobsevage, editing by Cari Delahanty