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Aubergine, better known as eggplant, is a favorite of mine, although you wouldn’t know it by searching for it on this blog. In more than a year, this is only the fourth time it has appeared. That is due to the fact that Dave doesn’t think he really likes eggplant and I know a lot of people who feel the same way. But each time he has it, he skeptically says, “that was pretty good.”  I have a theory as to why that is usually the reaction. Dave, and many people, have had eggplant prepared badly. Sadly, it is a common phenomenon, because eggplant can be a huge greasy bitter mess.

Eggplant is like a sponge, it will soak up as much oil as it gives it.  And the flesh can sometimes be naturally bitter. Like cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco; eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and it has much more of tobacco’s bitterness than the other family members.  The remedy for the bitter sponginess is to salt the flesh first. Salting, also known as degorging, accomplishes two goals: it pulls out juices that carry bitter flavors, and it collapses the air pockets in the eggplant’s sponge-like flesh, thus preventing it from absorbing so much oil and becoming greasy. The salted eggplant may be placed in a colander for an hour (best done with cubes) or placed in a single layer out on paper towels (best with slices). After the degorging is complete, rinse off the salt and squeeze dry before continuing. Eggplant can be cooked with the peel on or off. Unfortunately, the gorgeous aubergine color does not remain once it is heated, if it did, I would never peel it.

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October 4, 2010   1 Comment