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Old 08-02-2005, 01:46 PM   #1
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Do you peel eggplant?

I don't know exactly why , but I have always peeled eggplant before frying or baking.

However, someone made lunch for me at my own house a couple of weeks ago, and she simply cut the eggplant up into chunks, skin and all, and chucked it into the ratatouille.

This tasted just fine, and I'm just about ready to revise my judgement.

Also, you read and you hear that eggplant should be "sweated" first, by applying salt and then rubbing with a vegetable with towel, *particularly* if it is to be fried.

I've tended to do this in the past, but I'm wondering if this is not unnecessarily fastidious.

What do you think?

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Alex R.

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Old 08-02-2005, 01:48 PM   #2
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I don't peel mine..
I do sweat it though but, only because that was the
way I was taught. I'm not really sure if it is a needed step.
I guess it would depend on what you were going to use the
eggplant for. : )
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Old 08-02-2005, 02:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
I don't peel mine.. I do sweat it though
So do I, the majority of books recommed sweating whether or not you peel your eggplant, especially Italian cookbooks. I prefer the taste post-sweat as it is somewhat less bitter and I find, easier to work with.

As for peeling or not peeling, it's up to you, but I think the peel does contain some vitamins, which would be a bit of a shame to lose
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Old 08-02-2005, 07:06 PM   #4
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Alex, When I fry my eggplant I don't peel nor do I sweat it..If I'm using eggplant in my stuffed onions, I peel it as the skin tends to be tough and hard to chop as fine as i like..

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Old 08-02-2005, 09:48 PM   #5
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I never peel or sweat my egg plant. I just wash, slice, roll in egg and seasoned flour and cornmeal and deep fry.
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Old 08-02-2005, 10:09 PM   #6
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I peel mine, dont sweat it, dip it in egg wash, bread crumbs, and lightly fry before using it for eggplant parmesan. Turns out well for me.
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Old 08-03-2005, 04:26 AM   #7
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I first ate aubergines (can't bring myself to call them eggplants!) when I was a small girl. We were living in Cyprus and our cook used a lot of them! She never peeled them and always sweated them - so I did that for many, many years.

BUT about 2 years ago, I read an article which 'proved' (?!) that sweating them in order to release bitterness was a myth! Don't know if it's true,but I sometimes don't bother to sweat (if time is short) and I haven't been able to taste the difference
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Old 08-03-2005, 06:31 AM   #8
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I will semi-peel my eggplant, leaving on just narrow strips of the skin. I also always sweat w/salt, rinse, and pat dry prior to cooking. I've also heard that the sweating is to prevent bitterness, but can't testify either way if that's true.
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Old 08-03-2005, 08:24 AM   #9
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I do use salt, but peeling thing has always been on my mind. If I do peel, I think I shouldn't have and next time I do not, but then, of course I think I should have and next time I peel again, and cycle goes on and on and on
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:57 PM   #10
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I almost always peel ... I've had it un-peeled at many friends' houses and restaurants, and it was great, but somehow whenever I do it, I get a tough peel (that is with the large eggplant you get in most groceries here). I have both salted and not, and now salt-and-strain depending on what I want for final texture and moisture content. Once-upon-a-time you did it to offset bitterness that sometimes happened. Before my time. When I was young, you did this when you got a bitter batch of cucumbers. I've never had a remotely bitter eggplant (only started eating them about 20 years ago), so I do this when I want to reduce the amount of water a vegetable will give off in a dish, or firm up the texture.
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Old 08-04-2005, 06:24 PM   #11
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I just got a new cookbook today and was reading an aside, from the recipes, regarding the salting of eggplants. Anyhow, there was mention of it's purpose being to remove bitterness (she does say that it's the large eggplants that can more likely be bitter), but this chef says she always salts to sweat the eggplant prior to cooking because she has found that this helps to lessen the absorption of cooking oils. Thought that was a pretty good reason to do the salt thing.
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Old 08-04-2005, 09:51 PM   #12
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No self-respecting Sicilian would ever peel a melagnone.

Purging by salt is only necessary with larger eggplants, but I do it with all sizes because I am anal retentive (is "anal retentive" supposed to be hyphenated?)
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Old 08-05-2005, 12:49 AM   #13
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Generally the only time I see eggplant peeled is generally when the flesh is being reduced to a puree or mash. This is generally when the eggplants are cut in half, roasted, then the flesh scooped out, discarding the skin.

A number of people believe that salting them helps draw out some of the bitterness that is present in the liquid contained within the eggplant. However I have also heard that the current eggplant varieties have generally had the bitterness bred out of them.

In short I think you should continue doing what you have always done because you know it works for you.
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Old 08-05-2005, 01:12 AM   #14
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I always peeled them because I thought you had to (all the recipes I read said to). Now that I know that you don't have to, I will try it without peeling it.

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Old 08-05-2005, 02:29 AM   #15
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Barbara - if I'm grilling, bbq-ing or roasting slices of aubergine, I find that the skin helps it keep its shape - it also looks nice in home-made ratatouille as another colour in the mixture!
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Old 08-06-2005, 12:29 AM   #16
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I almost always leave the 'skin' on when grilling or baking, say for baba ganouche, or Claire's famous ratatoulle then scoop out the flesh. The skin protects the flesh from too much exposure to the flame.
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Old 08-06-2005, 09:11 AM   #17
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it depends on the fruit and the recipe. a slow cook I would leave it on. "Parmesian style", leave it on. a caponata, I may skin it, especially if it is an older fruit. Again the salting depends on the age and recipe. Whenever possible I like to leave skins on for the vitamins etc.
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Old 08-06-2005, 12:59 PM   #18
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I have never even thought of peeling aubergines (I'm with you Ishbel!) they're too pretty to peel. I used to sweat them, until I read somewhere that if they don't have black seeds (are fairly young) they are not bitter and it's not necessary.
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Old 08-13-2005, 06:35 PM   #19
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I dont peel or sweat either and its not necessary when grilling or roasting.They are quite delicious cooked that way.

Also did you know they have a tiny amount of natural occurring nicotine in them?
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Old 08-14-2005, 11:20 PM   #20
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I love to say aubergine and courgette. Ok, I'm a francophile of sorts. But don't they sound prettier than eggplant and summer squash?
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