Eggplants have always been a difficult vegetable for me. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and stripes and are surrounded by dos and don'ts. But with enough delicious recipes under your belt, it's pretty easy to overlook the post-cooking appearance and realize that all those dos and don'ts are really more suggestions than hard-and-fast rules. This recipe, which combines small Italian eggplants cooked whole in olive oil along with harissa, chickpeas, and tomatoes, is one such preparation.
'Eggplant' on Serious Eats
Meat can really hog the spotlight when it comes to grilling. But sometimes, a beautifully grilled vegetable comes along and steals the show. This is what happened here for me, with this eggplant from The Big-Flavor Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.
Sweet, silky, and absolutely delicious, this breading-free version of eggplant parm made in Italy is well worth trying, especially in late summer when eggplant (and tomatoes!) are at their best.
An intensely flavored topping for rice or ramen bowls made of slow-cooked eggplant seasoned with sea kelp, smoked bonito, and soy sauce.
Topped with tender, miso-glazed roasted eggplant and fresh Asian cucumber pickles, these burgers strike a sweet-savory balance that's hard to resist.
A quick and fresh appetizer or side dish, these grilled eggplant rolls get some Greek love thanks to an herbed-packed blend of yogurt and feta. Diced fresh tomatoes and cucumbers add a little contrasting crunch to the creamy filling.
Making double use of the grill, dish of rollatini starts with eggplant slices that are until tender and browned, then sees them returned to the grill as rollatini in a covered baking dish, just long enough for the cheese to melt and the marinara sauce to heat through.
Hearty and versatile eggplant has got to be one of the best vegetable substitutes for meat. Mark Bittman uses the nightshade as the base for meat-less meatballs in his new VB6 Cookbook. Once baked, the tender "meatballs" are surprisingly flavorful (as long as you don't skimp on the salt), making it easy to forget that you may normally be eating beef.
Roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, and goat cheese are packed into a hollowed out loaf of bread, wrapped tightly, and then pressed under heavy weights for several hours to pack all the flavors into a perfect, bite-height sandwich.
Rich, smoky, and creamy, our recipe for baba ganoush uses the salad spinner to concentrate flavor and a slow emulsion method for the ultimate in dippable texture.
This trio of eggplant, tomato, and ricotta cheese makes for a hearty, if not terribly exciting, twist on a caprese salad. Give the appetizer a Paleo twist, though, and the dish transforms into something far more interesting. Michelle Tam's recipe in her new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo, pairs eggplant slices (coated in ghee and broiled) with thick tomato steaks, a balsamic and shallot reduction, and her own macadamia nut-based ricotta "cheese."
A rich and hearty mushroom, tomato, and red wine ragù perfect for a cold winter day.
At its base, this is just a simple spaghetti and tomato sauce recipe—a satisfying classic for sure, but not exactly the most exciting dinner of the week. But if you add a handful of crispy slices of pan-fried eggplants on top, along with a shower of parmesan cheese, and you have a meal with a variety of textures and some real heft.
Andy Ricker's Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa (Green Curry With Fish Balls and Eggplant) From 'Pok Pok'
Green curry was the first Thai food I remember eating. My parents would make it with jarred curry paste, coconut milk, green beans, potatoes, and chicken--I trust many of you are familiar with this meal. I loved this curry, and in fact still make it occasionally when the craving strikes. The green curry in Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook is nothing like that curry.
This version of maqluba is a showstopper: a tall, golden savory cake filled to bursting with tender vegetables and crowned with yielding rounds of tomatoes.
I love ratatouille. It's soft on the palate and easy on the stomach; served with a fried egg and some crusty bread, it makes for a simply, hearty brunch that could easily work as a light supper, as well.
Red peppers and eggplant roasted over a wood fire give this sweet and tangy Serbian sauce a pleasing smokiness.
Tomatoes are still abundant this time of year in California. They're mostly big meaty specimens, taut with sweet juice. Tracey Medeiros offers an easy stuffed tomato recipe in her new book, The Vermont Table Cookbook. Instead of stuffing the tomatoes with a meat or bread-based stuffing, she fills them with other seasonal produce like yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper, for a ratatouille-like melange of summer flavors.
Tender eggplant slices slow cooked until deeply browned, served in a rich tomato sauce with feta cheese and parsley.
Is there a better summer dish than ratatouille? The Provençal classic makes use of some of summer's best bounty—tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini—for an elegant, simple stew that can be served at any temperature, any time of day. This elegant version uses paper thin slices of each fresh vegetable.