In the Shortcut or Heresy thread, pre-salting vegetables like eggplant or zucchini was oft mentioned as something people skipped. I’ve always skipped it; I never saw my mom pre-salt one vegetable in her or my life and so I never did either. So to me pre-salting isn’t a step you might skip, it’s just never been a step, period.
But prompted by this post To Salt or Not to Salt
I started to experiment with salting my zucchini. As the fore-mentioned Queen of Longcuts, I could not resist the chance to be even more anal retentive and laborious in my cooking. Why skip a step or look for a shortcut when you can ADD a step! Actually 2 steps, Salt and Remove Moisture! Oh boy! So below are my experiment results. (Note: I’m not a fancy schmancy chef, so sorry there are no fancy schmancy dishes here).
Experiment #1: Grilled Zucchini
Hypothesis: Salting will make zukes less mushy, so it will taste more “grilled” and less “steamed”
Slice zukes in half, lay cut side up on a shallow baking pan and sprinkle with table salt.
Wait 15-20 minutes then blot with paper towel to remove moisture from cut zucchini. Actually that’s what my recipe said but as I was blotting I felt like my paper towel just pushed the moisture back into the zuke, so I wiped the zukes pressing down very hard to get that damn moisture out. I pressed so hard I snapped one of my zukes in half. So don’t wipe too hard. Uh the zukes I mean.
Sprinkle/drizzle with whatever flavor additions you want. I used leftover balsamic vinaigrette.
Grill over high heat, rotating and flipping every couple minutes to get char marks.
Looks: Sorry no photo. It was a boring weeknight dinner, I don’t pull out the camera for everything!
Taste: Hmm. Not much different from my usual non presalted grilled zukes. Maybe a bit less mushy than usual. Maybe since these were pretty small zukes (from Farmers Market) they don’t have much moisture to begin with.
Conclusion: Not worth the time/effort. Grilled zucchini used to take 12 minutes to make (4 minutes to wash, slice & season, 8 minutes to grill). This step added 30 seconds to salt, 20 minutes to wait, and 1.5 minutes to wipe dry, totalling 34 minutes! Yeah I know I’m doing other stuff during the 20 minute wait, but still, dinner’s 22 minutes later? No thanks.
Stay tuned for the next experiment, Julienned Zucchini