Slice Eggplants Before Roasting For A Less Bitter Bite

The beautiful purple hue and rich antioxidant content in all varieties of eggplants are also the key sources of their bitterness. Phenolic acids in the flesh and anthocyanins in the skin create a strong tastethat will increase with age, rendering your roasted eggplant virtually inedible. While saving prep time may tempt you into throwing a whole eggplant into the oven, slicing it is the best way to prevent a bitter bite.

While some bitterness occurs in the skin, the majority of an eggplant's bitterness concentrates in the flesh and seeds. Unfortunately, no amount of roasting or cooking will eliminate an eggplant's acridity, and all the methods used to rid eggplants of an unpleasant taste involve slicing them open. One method calls for sprinkling slices of eggplant with salt, causing them to sweat and using sodium to draw the bitter chemicals out by osmosis. Another method involves soaking the slices in milk, allowing the proteins from the dairy product to bind to the bitter phenols in an eggplant's flesh, drawing them back out into the soaking liquid. Even scooping bitter seeds out requires you to cut the eggplant at least in half.

Furthermore, sliced eggplant will roast more quickly and absorb tasty marinades better than whole eggplants will.

Tips for roasting eggplants and preventing bitterness

Preventing bitterness starts long before slicing into your eggplant. It begins with how you choose the eggplant you'll buy for your meal. The older the eggplant, the higher the concentration of bitter chemicals, so you should look for the youngest, freshest eggplants available. Characteristics of freshness include shiny, light purple, taut skin without soft spots, a small to medium size, and a considerable heaviness.

An older eggplant's deep purple, dull skin will likely hold a lot of bitterness as well as larger seeds. For older eggplants, removing the skin and scooping out the seeds would help circumvent bitterness. However, salting or soaking eggplant slices for half an hour while the oven preheats is the standard guideline. Some argue that soaking eggplant in milk will tenderize the pulp for roasted eggplant with a creamier consistency.

Whether you slice your eggplant into steaks, rounds, or cubes, the pieces should all be roughly the same size for even roasting. Eggplants are highly absorbent, so you can maximize their flavor by creating a tasty marinade to toss them in before popping them into the oven. Consequently, rinsing and drying eggplant slices thoroughly after salting or soaking them is a key tip to optimize their absorption of seasonings and marinades.