We’ve all heard to sweat eggplant before you cook it. Rumor has it that salting or sweating eggplant before it’s cooked (baked, fried, grilled, or any other method) makes the eggplant more tender, less bitter, and more flavorful. Like everyone else, dinner at my house is not always prepped in advance and I don’t always have an hour to sweat my eggplant before I cook with it. So I had to do an experiment to see if sweating eggplant is necessary and if it does in fact taste better. Follow along to learn how to sweat eggplant.
I had 3 eggplant from a local, organic farm I volunteer at. I sliced them and then salted & sweated half of them.
How to Sweat Eggplant
Slice the eggplant then cover with a lot of kosher salt. A whole lot of salt. Rub the salt in and make sure both sides of the eggplant are covered. Let sit for 30-60 minutes. You will see water sweat from the eggplant. Rinse all of the salt off of the eggplant with running water. Pat dry.
Why Sweat Eggplant
The salt removes moisture from the eggplant. You will see beads of moisture sweating from the eggplant as it sits. The salt tenderizes the eggplant and seasons it. Since the eggplant has less moisture in it, it is able to soak up the oils used when cooking. The result is a more tender, less bitter, and tastier eggplant.
I sliced all 3 eggplants. I left the skin on for this experiment. The skin is usually the most bitter part of the eggplant, so I wanted to see if sweating it helped. I salted half and left the other half unsalted. I then baked half and fried half.
First up: FRIED EGGPLANT
I did a very simple egg wash and bread crumb breading (3 eggs in 1 bowl and fresh bread crumbs with salt and pepper in another bowl). Coat with eggs, then bread crumbs. I fried in coconut oil. I kept the sweated and unsweated eggplant separate.
The result: YES! Sweating did make a BIG difference. The sweated eggplant was more tender and more importantly, much more flavorful. I could taste the coconut oil and additional salt. This quick and easy fried eggplant has become my go-to way to prepare eggplant.
I brushed the eggplant with olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt & pepper. I baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.
The result: YES! The sweated eggplant was less chewy and more flavorful. I could really tell a difference in the skin. The skin was not near as tough and much easier to chew.
I will be salting my eggplant for now on! Even if I have to salt it the night before, rinse it and keep it in the fridge until I can get back to cook it the next day, I will salt my eggplant.
Here are some of my favorite eggplant recipes:
- Eggplant Marinara
- Eggplant Tian
- Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant
- Eggplant Bruschetta
- Eggplant Pizza
- Caramelized Butternut Squash and Eggplant
- Eggplant Caponata
- Mediterranean Sunshine
- Fire Roasted Eggplant Soup
- Eggplant Baby Food
- Eggplant, Goat Cheese, and Mushroom Ravioli
- Eggplant Tomato Bake
- Eggplant Sliders
- Mezza with Grilled Eggplant
- Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna
- Eggplant Lasagna
- Eggplant Pizza Crust
- Chicken Fajita Rolls