salt that eggplant?"
Anne and Sue,
Why do some recipes call for salting eggplant before
using it, and other recipes do not. What difference
does salting make?
eggplants come in many shapes, sizes, and colors the
most eye catching are fat, shiny, and in a shade of
rich aubergine. Of course the smaller, elongated varieties
are special too, both the dark purple Japanese variety
and the paler lavender Chinese variety.
harvested, eggplants don't take well to refrigeration
because of their tropical origins. Instead look for
a relatively cool spot in your kitchen (50°F) and
keep them there. However, also use them as soon as possible,
when they're truly at their prime. Those that have lost
their sheen and look puffy, are likely overripe, or
have been kept too long before purchase. Chances are
they'll be bitter with hard seeds.
at this point the business of salting arises. Sprinkling
pieces of eggplant with salt draws any bitter juices
to the surface in beads of moisture. Then they can simply
be blotted away with a paper towel. Some experts even
recommend a further pressing the eggplant pieces in
a kitchen towel to remove extra water, and excess salt
before continuing with the recipe.
process of removing the bitterness from eggplants leaves
the eggplant pieces with a denser texture, so they tend
to absorb less fat when sautéed before additional
cooking. Preliminary salting is often omitted if the
eggplants are young and just-picked, or if they are
used in a stew or casserole where the bitterness is
subdued by lengthy cooking or when potent spices are
used. Eggplant is indeed a tasty treat, and combines
with other late summer vegetables in rich and memorable
Anne and Sue