Eggplants (called an aubergine in some places) were named in the 18th century by farmers who thought they looked like goose eggs. In some places they still resemble the shape and size of goose or hen eggs.
To cook an eggplant, wash and cut off the ends. Use a stainless steel knife, as other knives will make it turn black. Even then it needs a salt water bath or brushing with lemon juice. Many cooks like to salt eggplant before cooking it. This process takes the bitter juices out of the plant, and gets rid of air pockets in the flesh that enable it to absorb a lot of oil.
To salt it, peel it and then cut however it will be used in the recipe. Sprinkle the pieces with salt, and put them into a colander for about an hour. Rinse off the salt and squeeze out as much moisture as possible, and pat dry with paper towels.
Small ones are tasty either with or without their skin. But the larger ones have tough skins that you probably won’t want to eat. To remove the skin, you can either peel before cooking, or spoon the flesh out of the skin after it is baked.
When it is sliced, it easily absorbs oil. That’s why it is often coated with batter or bread crumbs, (or both) and then fried in preheated oil.
There are many other ways to eat eggplant – baked, roasted, steamed, marinated, stuffed, grilled, in a casserole, or in stews. Any way you cook it, you can offer your family a new taste treat!