Sweating the Eggplant (How to Remove Bitterness)

First eggplant of the season

I am pleased as punch that I have harvested my first eggplant of the season, a purple-and-white striped variety which will probably find its way into roasted ratatouille by this time on Saturday.

It is likely I will have at least a half dozen more in about a month or so, if the weather holds and the critters stay away.

For me, eggplant is comfort food, not unlike mashed potatoes or rice. In fact, eggplant make a great substitute for those easy-on-the-tummy, but oh-so-carby side dishes. Somewhere, perhaps Milwaukee or Madison, I once tasted a classic Moussaka with eggplant that was quite literally, heaven on a plate.

This little baby is just the right size for a single-serving of ratatouille.

But first, it must sweat.

That is, I must cut it into fairly small pieces, salt it heavily, and allow the salt to do its job for about two hours, which is to remove moisture and hence, a great deal of eggplant's customary bitterness.

The eggplant will darken, but the moisture will be extracted. You can actually rinse it and then pat it try with a paper towel, or allow it to sit on a paper towel and air dry before using it in your ratatouille or other dish.

It's that easy. You can also place the salted eggplant in a colander, and place the colander in a larger dish and allow the moisture to drip out.

I have also added herbs de provence to my salt, and allowed the eggplant to absorb the taste. It seems I now have a surplus of my favorite herb mix, so I can use it liberally.

Looking forward to that ratatouille...


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