When shopping for eggplant, buy firm, well-shaped, usually rounded plants. They should be shiny, deep purple with no rust spots. Eggplant can be stored for three to four days in refrigerator if necessary before use. Most eggplant dishes freeze well. One pound of eggplant yields three cups diced.
There are several important things to keep in mind when cooking eggplant. First, the vegetable contains a large quantity of water, and can become very ‘watery’ during cooking. Some dishes may require getting rid of the excess moisture before the cooking process. To do this, slice or dice the eggplant, salt liberally, let stand about one hour, drain. You may want to place a heavy plate on top, to weight the slices and force the moisture out. A faster method is to blanche the eggplant in boiling salted water, for one minute. This method will produce a more tender vegetable, but will most likely reduce the flavor.
Eggplant, because of its spongy texture, has a tendency to soak up a considerable amount of oil during cooking. To use less oil, make sure that the pan stays quite hot during the frying process. Use only the oil required for the recipe, stirring or turning more frequently if necessary. Do not add any more oil! Drain on paper towels.