How to Cut and Broil Eggplant

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 22,804
    Chef Amy Riolo demonstrates how to cut and broil eggplant.

    Amy Riolo: Hi! I'm Amy Riolo. Today, I am working in the kitchen at Sur La Table, in Arlington, Virginia. We're making Whole Wheat Penne with Tomato Eggplant Sauce. I am going to show you how to slice our eggplant and broil it.

    When you buy an eggplant, you always want to look for one that's nice and firm like this. It should be very shiny and it should have no bruises to it. Any bruises will really mean that it's old and as eggplant's age, they get bitter. So you want to get one that's nice and firm like this and it feels a little bit heavy for it's size. In this recipe, we are going to use about a pound of eggplant.

    So we'll start by slicing off the top and setting that aside. So what's nice about this eggplant is that it's nice and flat, we won't see any sieves and we have a little bit of green right around the edge. This shows us that it's a new egg plant, that it's nice and fresh. So we don't have to worry. A lot of people need to soak their egg plant in salt to remove the bitter juices before they use it, but in this recipe we don't need to do that. So now we begin slicing our eggplant and we want pretty thin slices. You can go about a quarter of an inch on this and just go all the way down.

    Now this pasta recipe is actually called Penne alla Norma in Italian. It was named after a woman named Norma, who is the person who is accredited with actually inventing the recipe. It's so beloved throughout Italy, that when people do something good or people are commending someone on a good action, they will say, You did something alla Norma. Meaning, you did it very well because they are so happy with this recipe and you will be too. This is one that is very rustic southern Italian recipe and we are starting to see it in a lot of restaurants.

    Now I am going to take our eggplant slices and just place them down on to our baking sheet. This is what we're going to use to broil the eggplant on. So this recipe is becoming increasingly popular because it's delicious, it's filling, and it's very, very healthy. Eggplant is full of vital chemicals, like thiamine, and calcium, and phosphorus, potassium. All of these nutrients are really beneficial to the body. They help us to ward off illnesses, like cancer. They are also very low in carbohydrate, so they are a very healthy vegetable to integrate into your diet. Now the great thing about this broiling application here is, it saves you a lot of calories. In the original recipe, these were deep fried. You can deep fry them, if you choose to, but since we are focusing on wellness, I've begun doing it this way and I've been actually serving it this way in my family for years. It's a very delicious way to enjoy eggplant and trust me, no one is going to miss them not being fried because they are full of flavor.

    So now that we've finished putting the oil on this side, we can just turn them over and put the same right on the other side. Each color that the vegetable or a fruit has tells us not only how they look, but it tells us what kind of nutrients they have in them. The nightshade family, actually, are better for us, if we consume them at night. It sounds funny, but that's exactly what it means. So you want to eat things like eggplant in the evening in order for your body to be able to absorb the most nutrients for them. That's when they are most beneficial.

    So now that we've finished oiling our eggplant on both sides, we are going to place it in the broiler which has been preheated at 500 degrees. We are going to let them broil for about 3-4 minutes per side or just until they get nice and golden and cooked through. Be careful not to let them burn because broiler temperatures do vary and also, the height in our ovens vary. So keep an eye on those, make sure they are golden brown. When we come back in the next segment, we're going to show you how to make our tomato eggplant sauce.