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Preparing eggplant without salt

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
There is one vegetable that has consistently given me trouble - eggplant. Unless I bake it for a long time, it always ends up mushy and I cannot seem to get the texture right. I love how good eggplant tastes but I am always reluctant to buy it at the store since I do not seem to have the right moves to make the most of its potential.

I have heard that covering your eggplant in salt (to draw out the water) is key to cooking it to perfection. But due to kidney failure, I keep a very strict low sodium diet and cannot employ this technique. I would love some eggplant advice and any ideas of how to dehydrate the veggie without using salt.
post #2 of 12
when I use eggplant and don't have time to salt it i usually just peel it, either slice it thinly for a layered type dish or cube it up for A chili or goulash type of dish.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 12
Eggplant gives me trouble too. I grilled it one time and didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I would suggest cutting thick slices long ways and roast in the oven with olive oil and pepper.
post #4 of 12
Salting "draws out the bitterness." Alternatives include using a less bitter eggplant and "cooking twice."

The less bitter egglpant might be a different type, such as a Japanese egglpant, or just a younger, smaller Italian eggplant.

Salting is one way of "cooking" twice. The idea is, as I said, to allow the bitter juices to drain before the eggplant is finally prepared and cooked. A good example of twice cooking is to slice the eggplant into thin rounds, lightly saute them, drain them on a paper towel, then layer in a casserole with sauce, and bake.

One of my favorite ways of preparing eggplant is to grill them. If they're young and thin, you can cook them whole. If they're larger, you can cut then in half lengthwise or even rounds. Cook until very soft and lightly mash. Use alone or as part of an informal ratotuille with any sort of grilled meat.

The more specific you are about what sort of dish you're trying to make, the better advice we can give you.

BDL
post #5 of 12
I've not used it much but I know that Potassium Chloride is edible(salt substitute) and hygroscopic so that might work. Any thoughts?
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #6 of 12
(Might want to make sure if alternate salts are ok for the kidneys or not).
post #7 of 12
That might be a good idea. I know that, in small amounts(table seasoning), my grandfather could have it and he was on dialysis for about 20 years. I don't know about large amounts, like salt curing eggplant, or about complete kidney failure, though. Might be worth asking a doctor though.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #8 of 12
I'm not sure if this would help at all with the avoidance of salt in a strict low sodium diet, but maybe it will.
The idea is to salt the eggplant to draw out the bitter, and then rinse the salt out of the eggplant.
I have no idea how much salt would remain in the eggplant after rinsing -not sure if it's a viable option for someone on a low sodium diet, but here's the site I got the process from: this site, here.
Really cool site to peruse in your free time, if nothing else :)
GL
post #9 of 12
In terms of bitterness, as indicated, young eggplant are less bitter. Choose the ones that are shiny without marks or wrinkles, and where the skin feels tight. Also eggplants that weigh less than they look like they will weigh are going to be bitter - they are light because the moisture has evaporated, they;'ve gotten old, and they got bitter. Get dense ones, that weigh more than they look.

But the reason I know to salt them is another (I like the bitterness of eggplant anyway).
Eggplants are sponges for oil. If you don't salt them they take in oil like crazy. I like eggplant, but am not a good planner, and usually start pulling the shopping out of the bag as i start cooking, or come home, dump my junk in the living room, drape my coat on the nearest chair and start making supper. So who thinks to salt them? What I do is smash them. When you're going to fry them, you can press them under a rolling pin, or hammer them with the flat part of a meat tenderizer, or squeeze them in your hands.
Also when frying eggplant, i coat with a batter using egg, which seals them.

Grilled eggplant are great when marinated after grilling, a little hot pepper flakes, well minced or crushed garlic, parsley and maybe a bit of origano or marjoram, just a little, and oil and if you like, vinegar. Salt (if you can) and pepper. Let them sit a couple of hours, if you can wait, and then put them in a sandwich.

And I'm very sorry you can't eat salt. Most of my eggplant recipes involve olives and/or anchovies.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 12
Just had a thought. Lemon juice. Citric acid works well on bitter greens so it might work well with eggplant as well.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #11 of 12
Slice into rounds, brush with EVOO, sprinkle of lemon juice, good grind of black pepper, plus any flavours you like. Chargrill on bbq or hot griddle. Quicker, tasty, dries it out nicely.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #12 of 12
"...much depends on dinner" - Lord Byron "

Reminds me- just finished the book Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser (Macmillan, 1986) and it is a delight for any foodie. (I have the impression there are several of these that hang out here.) :thumb:

If you haven't read it, proceed directly to your nearest library and take it out.

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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