Eat Your Vegetables: Gauge cooking time by size of eggplant _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Easy Baked Eggplant

This is an attractive way to serve eggplant, but you have to decide how long to bake the eggplant depending on the size of the eggplant you’re using and how cooked you like it. The long, slender Japanese types will cook in less time than the larger, dark purple eggplants, but you can prepare them the same way. The fresher the eggplant, the less bitter it should be.

To salt or not salt the raw eggplant is up to you. I never salt the small eggplants, but I will generally salt a large eggplant. Salt the cut surface and allow the eggplant to sit for 20 minutes to 1½ hours. Rinse, pat dry and continue cooking according to the recipe.

For this recipe, the eggplant is halved and the flesh is cross-cut but left in the eggplant peel. Top the halves with butter, seasoning, cheese and breadcrumbs and bake it until it’s tender, then drizzle with olive oil and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at food@theadvocate.com.