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Eggplant a la parmigiana failure - salting problem?

i
itryalot Jul 30, 2009 02:12 PM

I wanted to make eggplant parmiggiana without the breading and frying. I sliced the baby eggplant (full of seeds), rubbed it with oil and lightly salted it and roasted it in the oven until just tender. Made the parmesan casserole. Just took it out and it is soupy. The eggplant released an ocean full of water.

Please help; I really love this dish.
Also, for zucchini and eggplant when you make it traditionally, egg wash, breadcrumbs and fry, how do you get the breadcrumbs to stick to the eggplant/zucchini. Is salting and letting it release water a must?

  1. p
    pickledtink Jul 30, 2009 02:21 PM

    As you have guessed, the problem you had is a salting one. To get the eggplant to release its water before cooking, sprinkle both sides of every slice with salt and put them on paper towels or in a colander and bowl. Let them sit about a half hour and they should be good to go.

    I don't know about zucchini (I prefer mine unadorned), but I do use an egg wash to make the breadcrumbs stick. From there you can either fry or bake...I prefer to bake but whatever floats your boat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pickledtink
      greygarious Jul 30, 2009 04:14 PM

      Whenever I salt a vegetable, I rinse off the salt afterwards and pat dry with paper towels before using.

      As for the current problem, pour off as much of the "soup" as you can, prop the pan up on a tilt and use paper towels to wick off some more, then cover again with tomato sauce and bake until it reduces some.

      1. re: greygarious
        i
        itryalot Jul 31, 2009 05:22 PM

        We like the skin, so I will peel alternate strips. Will salt, drain and rinse unless I have Chinese eggplant which does not require this. I don't remember having to do this many years ago when I watched my grandmother doing it.

    2. Phurstluv Jul 30, 2009 02:28 PM

      Yes, you have to salt it and let it sit first to get the bitter water released. Works also for zucchini, altho it's not as bitter.

      1. janetms383 Jul 30, 2009 02:34 PM

        When I make eggplant parmesan (with my homegrown eggplant) I PEEL the eggplant but DO NOT salt it.

        I dip it in egg and then in breadcrumbs and it sticks just fine. I have both fried it and not fried it before assembling the casserole. I like it best when fried. (of course!)

        11 Replies
        1. re: janetms383
          Phurstluv Jul 30, 2009 08:35 PM

          That must work for your taste!! The peeling & not salting.

          1. re: Phurstluv
            coll Jul 31, 2009 02:53 AM

            I don't salt, and always peel too. Then flour, egg/cream and breadcrumbs (and pour the extra egg between the layers). It's just not right if it's not fried, although I know that's an old-fashioned opinion. Eggplant this way is so delicious that we always eat a bunch right out of the fryer as an appetizer (even my cats like it this way!) When you bread and fry, the juiciness gets trapped inside the slices, rather than leeching out..

            1. re: Phurstluv
              janetms383 Jul 31, 2009 06:18 AM

              I've never found eggplant to be bitter at all, and I don't like that tough skin in the final product. Maybe it's the skin that's bitter and by peeling I don't have that problem...?

              1. re: janetms383
                coll Jul 31, 2009 08:51 AM

                From what I understand, nowadays the bitterness has been bred out of commercial eggplant. People just salt out of habit.

                The skin is a regional preference, I've heard skin-on referred to as "Neopolitan style". My father liked it that way, my husband will not allow it. So I peel, it's all the same to me.

                1. re: coll
                  janetms383 Jul 31, 2009 09:17 AM

                  Are garden grown considered "commercial"? Would that be because of the way the starter plants are grown?

                  1. re: janetms383
                    jen kalb Jul 31, 2009 09:59 AM

                    I think coll is talking about the seed strains not the growing methods. The salting is designed to draw out both the fluid and any bitterness,

                    I usually use the long asian eggplants which really dont require this treatment. I might have roasted the epplant a bit longer til golden and also looked to the thickness and quantity of of the tomato sauce used - not that much is needed to coat the epplant.

                    1. re: jen kalb
                      Will Owen Jul 31, 2009 02:47 PM

                      Yes, the big pear-shaped dark purple guys require salting and draining to remove bitterness, but the light purple Asian ones do not. The only exception I know of to the slicing-and-draining requirement is when you fire-roast a whole one Armenian style. The bitter juices are somehow transformed into a spicy overtone, and when the roasted eggplant is mashed up with salt and pepper and olive oil it's just amazing...

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        janetms383 Jul 31, 2009 03:59 PM

                        WADR, I disagree. I grow the large pear shaped purple ones and NEVER salt, but ALWAYS peel.
                        The eggplant is not bitter.
                        My casserole is not soupy.

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          hotoynoodle Jul 31, 2009 06:25 PM

                          calling harold mcgee! i simply do not find eggplant all that bitter and suspect/know/believe modern hybrids are not. even my italian grandparents did not salt. the large italian ones are cheap and always around, so that's what i normally use.

                          i call wives' tale on this bitterness bollocks.

                  2. re: janetms383
                    Phurstluv Jul 31, 2009 09:12 AM

                    Right, janetms383, that's what I'm thinking. I still find them slightly bitter if I don't salt. And I usually peel them too.

                2. re: janetms383
                  mcel215 Jul 31, 2009 03:54 AM

                  Ditto here.

                3. sixelagogo Jul 31, 2009 04:05 AM

                  Flour, then egg, then crumbing the zucchini will make the crust stick...same for eggplant.

                  1. JEN10 Jul 31, 2009 07:22 AM

                    I don't fry anymore, I brush with olive oil salt and pepper, then grill them. The slices make a great parmesean.

                    1. hotoynoodle Jul 31, 2009 10:02 AM

                      i don't salt/drain before breading to fry and never had a problem. however, i prefer to broil rounds or slices in the oven, get them charred and then use them like that for building upon. i prefer skin on too.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        m
                        markabauman Jul 31, 2009 04:26 PM

                        A compromise that a lot of people do is peel partially, in alternating strips. Also sometimes helps if you layer the salted eggplant pieces in a colander, place a plate over the pieces and a weight (large can of tomatoes, e.g.) on the plate.

                        1. re: markabauman
                          jen kalb Jul 31, 2009 04:54 PM

                          you can also submerge them is salted water for a while, then dry.

                      2. i
                        irishnyc Jul 31, 2009 04:58 PM

                        I'm far too lazy to clean up after frying most of the time, so I peel, cut long ways, salt, then dry, then roast until just barely brown. I don't bread them, as to save some calories. Always a hit.

                        1. mrsbuffer Jul 31, 2009 05:26 PM

                          We're Italian, and eggplant parm is sacred. I always peel and do not salt the eggplant. it doesn't get soggy at all. The thicker the slices, the more water is released, so I slice it very thin, no more than 1/8 of an inch think and if you think this doesn't take a long time, think again. egg, italian breadcrumbs, brown on both sides in olive oil. layer in a square baking dish that has just a bit of sauce on the bottom. in between layers, mozzarella (fresh grated, whole milk) and fresh grated parmesean. repeat until the eggplant is done. Mrbuffer says mine is better than his mother's...

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