Eggplant works in a variety of dishes, from grilled eggplant sandwiches to eggplant Parmesan. Cooking eggplant on the stove top in a skillet is a simple preparation method when you want to include the vegetable in stir-fry, on a pizza or in a pasta dish. The sponge-like texture of the eggplant means it can soak up excess oil and become soggy if not prepared correctly. Season the pan-cooked eggplant based on personal preference and the dish to which you are adding the eggplant.
Rinse the eggplant under cool water. Wipe the eggplant with a clean paper towel to dry off the water.
Lay the eggplant on a cutting board. Cut off the stem end of the eggplant. Peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler if desired. The skin is often tough and bitter so most people prefer not to eat it.
Cut the eggplant into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices. For smaller pieces, cut the eggplant in half lengthwise first, then slice across. Lay the slices out in a single layer on a plate or on the cutting board.
Sprinkle the eggplants on both sides with salt. Use about 2 tablespoons of salt. The salting process draws out moisture in the eggplant and helps reduce the air pockets inside. This means the eggplant will absorb less oil, and the salting process can make the vegetable less bitter.
Rinse off the salt after an hour with the eggplant slices in a colander. Squeeze the eggplant slices between your palms to remove any remaining moisture. Dry the eggplant slices with paper towels.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Wait until the oil is hot to add the eggplant to reduce oil absorption. Spread the oil around the skillet to help brown the slices evenly.
Arrange the eggplant slices in the hot oil, leaving space between the pieces so they cook better. Use the tongs to turn the slices frequently so the pieces don't burn.
Place a clean paper towel on top of a plate. Transfer the eggplant slices to the plate when the pieces are lightly browned. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with the desired seasonings, such as salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or garlic powder.
Serve the slices by themselves, or stir them into another dish.