Yes, let's figure this out! I slice, salt, wait, then dab with paper towels. I also only buy what I've been told were male eggplants (no indentation at the base) bc they supposedly have fewer seeds. Anecdotal evidence, always tricky, bears out the effectiveness of these two techniques, but I'd be interested to know what people think.
Quick question??? How many of youall slice, salt, then rise and drain your eggies?
Just checked the new McGee, and he says that the salting reduces the absorptiveness of eggplant, but as far as reducing bitterness, that probably just reduces "our perception of the alkaloids." I dunno what that means and have to take the dog for a walk, but if someone out there can explain, that'd be swell!
Alton Brown did a whole episode on eggplant a while back, which among other things covers choosing male over female eggplants, salting, and, to a certain extent, dealing with the alkaloids. The transcript of that episode can be found here.
Brief summary: he does go along with the "male eggplants have fewer seeds" concept. He salts cut-up eggplant mainly to combat the absorptiveness issue. He doesn't ascribe bitterness-removal to the salting process, but says that since a lot of the alkaloids are concentrated in the seeds, a lot of their bitterness can be avoided by picking male eggplants, and younger smaller eggplants (the younger they are, the less time they've had to make seeds).
He also deals in passing with removing alkaloids during a segment on baba ghanouj--he lets his eggplant pulp sit in a colander for awhile after roasting so that the alkaloid-heavy juices can drain off. This kinda suggests to me that the drainage of juices that happens with salted weighted uncooked eggplant slices would also get rid of some alkaloids, but it doesn't look like AB explores that idea.
Meanwhile, I've got an email out to my old school buddy asking about his mom's moussaka recipe. It might be awhile, though, before I hear back from him.
Meanwhile meanwhile, I really want to make this thang with lamb if at all possible, so now I gotta research where the heck to get ground lamb in my corner of the universe. Think I recall seeing that 99 Ranch had some in one of their frozen food cases--kind of odd, considering their huge and very active fresh-meat counter, but on reflection I guess lamb is not that heavily used in far-eastern cuisines. But at least they had some, which is more than I can say for the butcher-less big chain supermarkets.