Why You Should Be Cautious When Cooking Eggplant With Oil

Eggplant makes the perfect base for a wide variety of dishes. Whether they're turned into creamy baba ganoush, layered into eggplant parmesan, used in spicy garlic eggplant, or simply roasted on their own, eggplants are a delicious and versatile option. They're also a great source of all sorts of nutrients like antioxidants, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A and C (via WebMD).

According to Allrecipes, no matter how you're planning to prepare eggplants you need to be careful with the amount of oil that you're using. Eggplants have a tendency to soak up flavors that they're cooked in. While it might be tempting to throw them into a sizzling pan of oil, doing so might create an overly greasy mess instead of a perfectly crisp slice of eggplant. You'll also be adding a ton of excess fat to your meal. One benefit of eggplants is that they are relatively low in calories and fat and adding tons of oil to them will negate any of those benefits (via WebMD).

Eggplants act like sponges

The reason for this is that eggplants are basically sponges. According to Allrecipes, they have a tendency to absorb however much oil they're given. When they're coated in a ton of cooking oil, or pan fried in oil, they tend to absorb too much of the fat, and end up dripping in grease. Allrecipes notes that the best course of action is to lightly brush the vegetables with oil before roasting, or pan searing them. This will properly coat them without ruining them.

Another way to fix this is to pre salt eggplants. This is done similarly to a dry-brine where the vegetables are coated with salt and left to sit out for approximately one hour. This is believed to cancel out some of their inherent bitterness, draw out the excess moisture, and also collapse many of the air pockets that would otherwise drink up cooking oils (via Cooks Illustrated). A way to quicken the process is to also salt the eggplant after it's been cubed or sliced, and then wrap it in a paper towel and microwave it briefly. This speeds up the process without completely cooking the eggplant. 

No matter how you prefer your eggplant, be sure to add oil with care.