Technique of the Week: Degorging

Degorging is a the process of drawing moisture from vegetables before cooking. It is a method used to soften vegetables and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking. This technique is most often used in preparing eggplant for cooking to remove the bitterness (and a buildup of toxins which can cause stomach upset.) However, the term can also refer to the practice of adding cornmeal to the soaking water of crustaceans to force them to eliminate the sand in their shells.

To degorge vegetables, cut the vegetable into skinned slices or cubes, then sprinkle salt directly onto the vegetable or soak in heavily salted water, and allow them to “sweat” for at least 30 minutes. The eggplant will give off a brownish liquid. Before cooking rinse the vegetables thoroughly. Due to its spongy texture eggplant can actually be gently squeezed to rinse and remove excess water. Drying the eggplant is also a good idea; we lay the slices on a towel and roll them up to extract rinse water.