Caponata, the Sicilian dish of eggplant and other vegetables sautéed in a sweet and sour sauce can be shockingly flavorful the first time you try it. And I'm not using the word shockingly lightly here. Packed with extra-virgin olive oil, raisins, pine nuts, herbs, vinegar, sugar, and a slew of other ingredients, it's the kind of dish you have to recalibrate your whole mouth for in order to really appreciate it. But once that recalibration is done, man oh man is it great stuff.
'Eggplant' on Serious Eats
Despite its translation—"fish fragrant eggplant,"—yu xiang qie zi actually contains no seafood or meat products whatsoever. It gets its name from the combination of hot, sour, and sweet flavors that are typically served with fish in its native Sichuan. Smoky eggplant is stir-fried until tender, then tossed with a quick sauce flavored with chilies, black vinegar, sugar, and ginger, and garlic for a hearty, flavor-packed dish that comes together in one wok with minimal effort.
Loaded with the flavors of both summer and fall, this lasagna features a garlicky mixture of eggplant, carrot, onion and prosciutto, along with a good dose of both Gruyère and mozzarella cheeses.
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.
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.