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Using Eggplant


While I’m home from our San Francisco food tour of North Beach Little Italy in Chinatown, one of my favorite dishes is eggplant parmesan. While I’m a big fan of eggplant in many dishes, in eggplant parmesan I like the eggplant to be creamy and not very bitter. To do that, I like to salt the eggplant before I use it.

The way I salt eggplant involves a couple steps.  First, I like to peel the eggplant. I like you use a Y peeler and peel the eggplant before I cut off the end pieces. That way I get the most amount of eggplant to use. Next I’ll slice into nice long slices about half inch wide.  After that, I’ll get a couple cookie sheets after making layers of  eggplant.  At the very bottom of the cookie sheet, first, I’ll put down a layer of paper towels then toss a lot of kosher salt over the paper towels, then put a layer of eggplant, then more kosher salt on top of the eggplant, then more layers of paper towels, kosher salt and eggplant, until I’ve salted it every one of the eggplant slices.  On the final level, I’ll put a layer of paper towels and they use a combination of plates and cans to weight down the eggplant group. After about an hour, the salt will pull out the moisture from the eggplant and then all I have to do if I wipe off the excess salt from the eggplant and they’re ready to use.

On our San Francisco food tours, I’ve noticed that when they use eggplant in a dish like a salad or something where they want to the eggplant to really shine through, they tend to not salt the eggplant.  However, what they want to use in a dish, they usually end up salting the eggplant for the same reason that I do, they want this eggplant to be creamy and not very bitter.

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