To salt or not to salt eggplant, that is the age-old question with this delicious yet oh-so-versatile purple beauty - find the answers of if, why and how here!
Call it eggplant, aubergine or brinjal; this versatile vegetable with its satin purple skin and its spongy, creamy-white flesh is perfect for soaking up all the exotic flavours of any dish.
A famous member of the nightshade family, eggplant can be grilled, barbecued, roasted, fried, braised, curried, and stewed and is just perfect for salads.
Why You Should Salt Eggplant
Bitterness - Originally it was done to remove its bitterness, nowadays the bitterness has been bred out of them, so it is no longer necessary to do it for this reason.
Oil absorption. It was also thought that it would decrease its ability to absorb oil. This is not the case, as the salt draws water from the eggplant weakening its cell structure and making it easier for it to absorb oil.
The Real Reason Why
It helps to draw out the excess water that is inside it; that is why you will see your eggplant 'sweat' and form pools of brown liquid at the bottom of your bowl.
As the moisture is drawn out the flavour of the eggplant is concentrated and the salt helps season the eggplant right through.
The real difference is with the texture - salted eggplant is creamier and more luscious, while unsalted eggplant is firmer and meatier.
How to Salt Eggplant
- Peel and cut your eggplant into whatever size and shape pieces the recipe calls for.
- For eggplant cubes or dice, place the eggplants in your colander, add some coarse sea salt and toss to distribute the salt.
- For eggplant rounds or slices, place them, one layer at a time, in a colander and sprinkle with some coarse salt.
- Allow to sit for at least 60 minutes; you will know when they are ready once you see either liquid beads form on them or you see your eggplant start to sweat.
- Pat dry to remove excess water and salt, then cook according to your recipe.