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No More Watery, Bland Vegetables

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2010

Tossing watery vegetables with salt before cooking not only seasons them and rids them of excess moisture, but also draws out more flavor.

Tossing watery vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and zucchini with salt before cooking not only seasons them and rids them of excess moisture, but also draws out their flavor molecules. Many of these molecules are not only trapped within their cell walls; they are tightly bound to proteins that also make them inaccessible to our tastebuds. With time, the salt draws flavor compounds out of the cell walls while simultaneously forcing the proteins to separate from these molecules. The upshot? Produce with more intense flavor.

Salting Formula: For every pound of vegetables, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of table salt and toss in a large bowl. Transfer to a colander, set it in the large bowl, and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Pat the vegetables dry before using.