Why do you sprinkle salt on eggplant?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Sprinkling salt on eggplant serves several purposes. Firstly, it helps to remove excess liquid from the eggplant. This is particularly important when frying or sautéing eggplant, as the excess moisture can make the dish soggy. By salting the eggplant slices, cubes, or planks, you draw out some of the water, resulting in a firmer texture when cooked.

Additionally, salting eggplant can help to reduce its bitterness. Eggplants naturally contain compounds called alkaloids, which can contribute to a slightly bitter taste. However, modern varieties of eggplant are bred to be milder and less bitter, so this step is not as crucial as it used to be. Nevertheless, if you prefer a less bitter flavor, salting can help to mellow out the taste.

To salt eggplant, simply sprinkle it with salt and let it sit for about 30 minutes. During this time, the salt draws out the moisture from the eggplant. You may notice beads of liquid forming on the surface, which you can blot away with a paper towel. After salting, rinse the eggplant well to remove any excess salt and pat it dry before cooking.

It’s worth noting that not all recipes require salting eggplant. If you’re using younger, smaller eggplants or cooking methods that don’t involve much moisture, such as grilling or roasting, salting may not be necessary. However, if you’re unsure, salting can still be a good precautionary step to ensure a creamy texture and enhance the overall flavor of your dish.

In my personal experience, I have found that salting eggplant can make a noticeable difference in the final result. The texture tends to be firmer and less watery, which is particularly desirable when frying or using eggplant in dishes like eggplant parmesan. The slight reduction in bitterness also helps to create a more balanced flavor profile.

To summarize, sprinkling salt on eggplant helps to remove excess liquid and reduce bitterness. While it may not be as crucial with modern eggplant varieties, salting can still enhance the texture and flavor of your dish. Give it a try and see the difference it makes in your favorite eggplant recipes!