What are the best ways to cook eggplant? Does it need to be prepped to avoid bitterness? I read about salting but is that only for roasting?

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6 Comments

mensaque September 2, 2011
I'm a bit intimidated!I thought to myself:I have a great answer for this pickle...I roll down the answers and there it is!New York Times...It crushed me,but I won't give it up,haha!Maybe Melissa will even agree with me,who knows!
To season:a good tip is to leave it for 30min.in salted water.You may wanna add a few drops of lime juice,but it's your call.
I love it roasted,but try it like a stew with green pepper,tomato and onion.
My favorite is "a milanese":slice it thin(about 5 mm),deep it in whisked eggs,then in salted bread crumbs,and deep fry it in hot oil.It's great!
"A parmegiana"is also increadible:take the milanese product,put it on a baking dish in a bed of tomato sauce.Cover it with ham and cheese(any kind that will melt)and some more sauce.Oven for 20 min.Heaven.
Also heaven:Babaganoush.You must know it.It's like the paté of arab cuisine and it's a shame but even being 1/4 Syrian,I don't have a recipe for you,but look it up.It's too good.
 
Melissa C. August 24, 2011
You definitely don't need to salt the slim Italian or Japanese eggplants. They should be plenty sweet. But if you have a big globe eggplant that seems seedy, or if you just want to season it through and through, salt it lightly in a colander, let sit for about 20 minutes, then blot dry (you don't have to rinse). The eggplant will be nicely seasoned and you won't have to add much more salt at the end.
 
Incognito August 16, 2011
The small elongated Asian-type eggplant can be steamed successfully and are quite tender. Try Patricia Wells' recipe for Steamed Eggplant with Buttermilk-Thyme dressing from her cookbook Vegetable Harvest (2007). See: http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/steamed-eggplant-with-buttermilk-thyme-dressing
 
Good points. I still like to salt the eggplant slices, then rinse and blot though. I think this not only takes care of any bitterness, it seems to activate the juices....that is just my intuition talking here, let me acknowledge! But with so many vegetables I am having better luck salting. I did a taste test with shallots, salting and not salting... that seems to back up this theory ..but maybe someone with the science can weigh in, too. If you do any taste tests, let us know!
 
I agree with the above. The small and the long Asian eggplants, and especially the ones coming into market right now are tender and tasty enough that they should not need to be pre-salted. Use that technique later in the season when you are cooking with the larger globe varieties, particularly when your recipe calls for horizontal slices.
 
aline.marie August 16, 2011
In my experience, if the eggplant does not appear to be super fresh (look at the stem to see how dried out it is) then salting, letting sit and blotting before cooking can work to remove bitterness. If fresh you shouldn't have a bitterness problem. I like oiling the outside and roasting whole. The insides can be scooped and used to make dips and spreads if mixed with spices and a little oil. Or slice, oil lightly and bake to use in sandwiches, salads or to toss in with pasta. Battered and fried is tasty. Just be careful if you are going to saute since they absorb oil like crazy!
 
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