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Old 03-19-2007, 01:55 PM   #1
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Do I need to salt and drain the eggplants first?

Hi folks

I had a bad experience with a recipe a long time ago regarding not salting and draining the bitter tastes out of sliced eggplants. I saw this recipe on epicurious.com and wondered if I need to remove the bitterness from eggplants before following the recipe.

If I do or don't, please explain why. I appreciate all your help in advance:

PITA SANDWICHES WITH EGGPLANT, PEPPERS, TOMATOES AND CUCUMBER

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Old 03-19-2007, 02:06 PM   #2
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Hi, librarygirl. Welcome to DC.

I would say you do not have to treat the eggplant before using it in the recipe. Not all eggplants are bitter and the recipe usually instructs you to salt it if necessary.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:06 PM   #3
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I'm 90% sure that the bitterness of eggplants comes from their seeds, and that it was better to buy smaller eggplants rather than larger ones because there would be less seeds, and less bitter flavor seeping into the the flesh of the eggplant.

I've never heard of "draining" eggplants, though I would always salt mine for flavor. Maybe salting them extracts some of that bitterness, and I just have not heard of that. I would say salt them anyways, if for nothing else than flavor.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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If you do not salt and drain the eggplants, they will soak up oil like a sponge when you go to saute them.

Whenever I do them, I rinse them off afterwards and dry them thoroughly in order to make sure I don't keep that salt on them.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:29 PM   #5
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I guess I will just follow the directions as-is and not salt them prior. Since I have to dredge the eggplants in flour before putting them into egg shouldn't I just season the flour instead?

Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:36 PM   #6
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Seasoning the flour is a great opportunity to add flavors to the dish. No reason to stop at salt and pepper. You could add garlic and onion powder, dired herbs and spices and seasoning mixes such as Emeril's Essence or others.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:46 PM   #7
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I agree with June. Salting eggplant make it less bitter and less likely to absorb oil when sauteeing or frying. Eggplant is very spongy -- salting it collapses the cells, making it less spongy.

I'd salt. But then I'm allergic to eggplant and don;t eat it. Haven't had a compliant yet and I almost always salt it if I am not stewing it.
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Old 03-19-2007, 03:51 PM   #8
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I NEVER do it and never notice any bitterness. And I cook eggplant a lot.

Good recipe. Could use for appetizer bites or serve 3 or 4 for dinner side dish.

Japanese eggplant
feta cheese
mayonnaise
fine fresh bread crumbs, seasoned as you wish

Mix mayo and finely crumbled feta. Slice eggplant into 3/4" slices. Dip into eggplant and then in bread crumbs. Put on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes, until tops are beginning to brown.
Enjoy this way, OR top with a slice of roma tomato (just fits) and some shredded cheese (asiago is nice for a "bite"). Run under broiler to melt cheese.
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Old 03-19-2007, 04:17 PM   #9
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that "trick" with the salt Used to apply, but not anymore, the Bitter component has been bred out of the eggplant that you purchase now, 10 years ago you`de have a good point :)
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:30 AM   #10
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It's not for bitterness that I salt them.. it's to get rid of some of that water. I like my sauteed eggplant crispy! I find when I don't salt them that the coating gets soggy before I can fry them.
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