A question about roasting eggplant: how does one avoid having the eggplant taste bitter and overpowering?

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14 Comments

katieDidnt July 10, 2016
Choose a fresh, moderately sized eggplant with firm skin and no brown or mushy spots and you won't have that awful bitter taste. If you have very fresh fruit, you can skip the salt and drain step in most recipes. If you selected old or over ripe fruit, there is not much help for that.
 
lazychef August 16, 2011
If you're making baba ghanoush, you have to peel the eggplant after roasting. Classic or globe eggplants work really well- grill/roast until the skin is shriveled and the insides are soft. Use only the pulpy soft innards for the baba. Should be pale and smoky-tasting!
 
ChefJune August 16, 2011
I roast whole eggplants when I make Melitzanosalata -- no salting. I prick them all over first, and set them on the oven rack.

When they come out, I peel the skin off and cut it into cubes. Some of it is quite smushy, some firmer. reminds me I need to get some eggplants!

I also don't salt and rinse when I make ratatouille. But for some reason, whenever I cut rounds of raw eggplant, before proceeding with the recipe I salt and drain.
 
Sam1148 August 16, 2011
Oh, just re-read submitters description and goals in the thread.

I don't think it's the egg plant there for the color but perhaps adding more tahini to the mix to lighten the color. Unless you're over roasting it.

If you're going for a very light color and the egg plant is the problem--try steaming it in cubes in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap in the microwave to cook it--after using the above mention techs for removing bitterness.
 
Sam1148 August 16, 2011
Look for Japaneese Eggplants. They're much smaller and have fewer seeds and are less bitter.

I too dislike the large ones most available at supermarkets. At the Asian stores you have to visit often as they are very seasonal. Those don't normally need salting and soaking to remove bitterness when you roast or braise them.
 
thirdchild August 15, 2011
boulangere, you are something! I see your creativity extends beyond the kitchen.
 
boulangere August 15, 2011
Further, supposedly male, uh, members are less bitter than female. The male fruits are described as being, I am not as the saying goes making this up, longer and thinner. My eggplant sexing skills are clearly seriously lacking, as I have had not an iota of luck with the distinction and non-bitterness results.
 
boulangere August 15, 2011
Love Anitalectric's response. Cube, salt on beds of paper towels (or clean reusable cotton towels), press, proceed.
 
thirdchild August 15, 2011
My problems with eggplant arise when I am roasting it whole or on the grill for babaganoush. I am aiming to get a puree that is light, almost white in color, not dark and bitter. Good Middle Eastern baba is always lighter in color, and I don't think it's because of the lemon juice.
But I do appreciate your answers! Thank you!
 
katieDidnt July 10, 2016
If you are making baba, peel the eggplant after it is fully roasted and place the flesh in a collander to drain off the brown liquid. Also, make sure your fruit is fresh and not overripe.
 
If you want to use eggplant sliced, peeled, or not, you should salt the slices, let them sit for 10-15 minutes, then squeeze or press them and rinse the salt off. I do think this gets rid of the bitterness. When I use cucumber I also cut off the ends and rub them against the remaining middle section to get rid of bitterness.
 
Anitalectric August 15, 2011
What are you making? If you are not stuffing it or doing anything with it whole, I recommend chopping it into cubes before roasting. This increases the surface area of eggplant touching the pan and causes more caramelization. It comes out sweeter. Check out this recipe I posted:

http://verdantkitchen.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/babaghanouj-with-chipotle-and-caramelized-onion/

 
Greenstuff August 15, 2011
One usual recommendation is to salt the eggplant. The other is to peel it. So maybe peel it, or partially peel it in strips, so that you have at least a little color from the peel, cut it into what ever shape you're going to want, salt generously, and leave to sit for a while. Then rinse, dry, and proceed with your recipe. I have eggplant in my oven right now, and that's what I did.

But not all eggplants taste bitter, and some of the bitter flavors, like with Thai eggplants, are actually pretty good. So, if you're game, experiment!
 
garlic&lemon August 15, 2011
Hmm, how disappointing! When I make eggplant parmesan or moussaka, I use large globe eggplants. Slice it, unpeeled, in 1/2 inch slices, brush both sides with olive oil, place on parchment (or silpat) on a cookie sheet (by this time, the olive oil has been absorbed) and bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes until it is light brown and shriveled up. It might look too skinny, but do not worry. When you layer it in the casseroles with sauce, it perks right up and is soft and sweet and non-greasy. I have never tried it with Japanese eggplants so I couldn't say about those. This method has never resulted in bitter or overpowering eggplant ever since I learned it from the ladies at the local Greek Orthodox Church in the 70's. That's a lot of eggplant. Perhaps another pickler will have a method for roasting whole eggplants for babaganoush.
 
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