Many recipes call for salting and rinsing eggplant before cooking it to draw out its bitterness. Brining can be used instead and has the added advantage of helping the eggplant keep its shape when it's cooked, whether your recipe calls for baking, frying, or grilling.
This technique of soaking sliced or chopped eggplant in salt water is particularly useful when making grilled eggplant. You can brine eggplant for use in any recipe (whether it calls for brining or not) using this method. All you need is salt, water, and a large bowl.
- Fill a large bowl with 1 tablespoon salt and about 1/2 cup hot water. Stir until salt dissolves completely.
- Fill the bowl with about 2 quarts cold water. The water should taste more or less as salty as the ocean.
- Cut the eggplant into the size and shape you need for the recipe. Submerge the pieces in the salted water. Use an upside-down plate or pot lid to weigh down the eggplant so it is fully submerged in the water.
- Let the eggplant sit in the brine for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Drain the eggplant and pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel or layers of paper towels.
Once the eggplant is brined and dried, you can proceed with your recipe of choice. Really, the only time not to brine eggplant is when you want it to fall apart during cooking, as in an eggplant dip or eggplant soup, or if you're grilling a whole eggplant so that it falls apart into a natural purée.