Shiny, dark-purple skin makes a common eggplant beautiful to behold, but it can be tough and bitter to eat. Peeling any variety of this versatile veggie isn't strictly required as the skin is edible. However, just a minute or two of effort makes the eggplant in your veggie lasagna or spicy moussaka creamy and smooth. The flesh starts to turn brown immediately, so save the task of peeling for the last minute.
Wash the eggplant under cool water, running your hands over the vegetable to loosen any dirt clinging to the skin. Dry it with paper towels.
Set the eggplant on its side on a cutting board. Use a large knife to slice off the green stem at the top of the eggplant and to slice off the rounded bottom of the vegetable so it stands upright.
Set the eggplant on a kitchen towel or cutting board. Hold the eggplant at its top with one hand. With the other hand, slide a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife down the vegetable, cutting away a vertical strip of peel. Turn the eggplant slightly after every pass with the peeler or knife. Repeat this action until the eggplant is fully peeled.
Slice or cube the peeled eggplant and sprinkle the pieces with salt. Let them sit in a colander for about 60 minutes; this step, writes Ayla Algar for "Fine Cooking," draws out bitter liquid and prevents the pieces from absorbing too much oil during cooking.