Salting an eggplant is also aptly named "sweating" because of the beads of water that gather on the skin during the activity. Moisture is drawn out of the bitter flesh by a sprinkling of salt, in a process also known as degorging, in order to make the eggplant more appetizing. This procedure is more important with older eggplants than younger ones--the former contain a plethora of the brown seeds which are the cause of the bitterness. Also, this process firms the flesh of older eggplants, which have a tendency to become mushy when cooked.
Wash the eggplant thoroughly under cold running water. Dry with a dish towel and place on a cutting board.
Cut the eggplant length-ways into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place two layers of paper towels over one of the baking sheets. Salt both sides of each slice and put them in a single layer on top of the paper.
Place another two layers of paper towel on top of the eggplant layer. Put the other baking sheet over the layers. Fill the mixing bowl with water. Place it on the top baking sheet.
Press the slices for half an hour. Remove the eggplant from under the baking sheet and paper towels, and rinse each slice quickly under cold running water. The eggplant is now ready to add to a dish.
- For those who are health conscious, generously salting the eggplant is also a good idea, for it makes the flesh less permeable to oil when frying.
- These slices are good either baked with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top, grilled on a barbecue, or pan fried on the stove.
- Always use a firm eggplant with no bruising or discoloration of the skin.
- Take into account how much salt your recipe asks for and half the amount. With the saltiness of the eggplant, there can be a tendency to over salt the recipe.