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Best ways to cook/use Eggplant

Typically, I don't use eggplant too often, but I was wondering what kind of eggplant recipes are out there. So.... What You Got!?

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  1. Eggplant - just like tofu - is sort of the blank slate of the vegetable world. It'll absorb & amplify in a good way whatever sauces &/or seasonings you throw at it. I love & use it in many Italian & Asian dishes - always quite spicy. What sort of cuisines are you interested in?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bacardi1

      In addition to Italian and Asian (including the subcontinent), there's always Middle Eastern--baba ghanouj being one of the more famous dishes. For something quick and easy and versatile, I like to slice Asian eggplants about a 1/4 inch thick, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little garlic, and bake or broil until brown. Yummy. Or put the baked slices in tomato sandwiches.

      1. re: PAO

        baba ghanouj! I need to find a good recipe for that, thank you!

    2. My two current favourites are: (1) Claudia Roden's Food of Spain - peeled eggplan is soaked in milk for 2+ hours, drained, drenched in flour/salt and fried. Serve drizzle with orange blossom honey (I add a bit of ornge blossom water to regular honey); (2) Opinionated Chef's recipe that she gave to me when I was searching for Moroccan dishes - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8146.... I am making OC's recipe again tomorrow!

      1 Reply
      1. re: herby

        That first recipe sounds amazing! One summer when I am not in grad school I am going to borrow books from the library and cook up a storm!

      2. Imam bayildi - lots of recipes out there. Here's one - http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/...

        1. Mince garlic in a good bit of olive oil and heat. Brush garlic infused oil on half inch slices of eggplant and grill. In the remaining oil sauté minced onion. Toss in a couple of diced tomatoes, seeds and all, chunks of kalamata olives, a few capers, a splash of white wine, and some red pepper flakes. Layer the grilled eggplant with a small amount of the cheese of your choice, pour the sauce over it, top with grated Romano, and heat (won't take much as the sauce and eggplant are already pretty hot). Top with chiffonade of fresh basil. Sort of a cross between eggplant Parmigiana and puttanesca. Mmmmm.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tim irvine

            That sounds wonderful Tim - thanks!!!

            1. re: tim irvine

              I love the sound of your recipe, Tim! Copied it in my "recipes to try" book and will make it soon.

            2. Start with small eggplants or Japanese are best. Slice vertically, brush with peanut oil both sides and grill or broil until browned. Finish with a mixture of hoisin sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and chopped scallions. Or, if you've feeling very lazy, just hoisin sauce is very good.

              1 Reply
              1. I salt eggplant slices for a while, then pat dry, cut into thumb-size sticks, and fry them up in a wok for future use in Chinese-style food or for Italian pasta sauces. Alternatively, they can be a great side dish for sausages or any simple pork dish with a bit of sautéed garlic or onion and cayenne, with or without a couple spoonfuls of tomato sauce/chopped tomatoes. They can keep, cooked, for several days in the fridge.

                I just made a recipe out of Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook "An Invitation to…" where you roast eggplant and mix the flesh with yogurt and spices, using it as a relish or side dish. It was quite good (I used 1/2 the yogurt/eggplant ratio as my eggplant was very mild).

                Another interesting recipe is to (after washing) peel the eggplant somewhat "thickly" with a knife (i.e., leave some flesh on the skin). Salt lightly and cut the peelings, if need be, into smaller, little-finger-size strips. Fry s-l-o-w-l-y in a frying pan with olive oil to yield a somewhat crunchy snack to be served with aperitivi, I learned this recipe from a Milanese woman, but it could be a Venetian recipe.

                The eggplant pulp could be used for baba ganoosh or for eggplant meatballs (one of Marcella Hazan's books has the latter recipe; it's quite good).

                Another appealing treatment is eggplant parm. either in a casserole or as a filling for sandwiches. What I learned works well is to eschew bread crumbs of any kind. What I do is dip the eggplant slices first in flour, then in beaten egg, before frying. The frying can be tedious and messy, but the result is worth it.

                1. If you can get the little round eggplants about the size of golf balls, you can just cook those whole in a tomato sauce. They get all soft and mushy and are quite an interesting contrast if you cook them along with meatballs and then serve it all on spaghetti.

                  1. Cube, steam until fork tender, then dress with a soy sauce, sugar, diced garlic and sesame oil marinade. Serve chilled.

                    1. Deborah Madison's Stir-Fried Roasted Eggplant is like crack for me. I also like the CHOW recipe for Red Pepper and Eggplant Tomato Sauce, though I add a little pancetta to the original vegetarian recipe. Because eggplant retains its meaty texture, it makes a hearty pasta sauce.
                      I julienne it on a mandoline, but shredding will suffice. I think it's Alton Brown who has a recipe for making thin lengthwise strips with a vegetable peeler, cooking them a little, and using them instead of papardelle pasta, in combinatino with your choice of pasta sauce. If you use the advanced search option on this board you'll get lots of eggplant threads. In particular, look for scuzzo's eggplant extravaganza thread, containing eggplant on the wafflemaker.

                      1. Thin ones: wok 'em with any meat. Big ones: moussaka or bademjan.

                        1. The best way we like to prepare eggplant is to fry them like fried green tomatoes. Slice the eggplant into rounds about 3/8" thick, flour, egg wash, cracker crumb and then fry until golden. Serve with sour cream.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: John E.

                            Agreed. I think I prefer them this way...without the sauce and mozz for parmagiana. Makes a great sandwich that way.

                            1. re: John E.

                              We slice and egg and bread crumb then dry. Yum! Sprinkle with grated Parm.

                            2. We make a very garlicky baba ganouj and serve it warm over pasta.

                              1. Any post I come across that has anyone looking for vegetable recipes, I steer them to http://www.justvegetablerecipes.com. Have found some very good ones over the years.

                                1. Here's another CH thread you should take a look at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678853

                                  1. Tons of Indian recipes for brinjal. I grow the Japanese ones, and we love 'em in just about any Indian recipe. Other than that: baba ganosh, parmigiana, matchstick stirfries.

                                    1. I never seem to have the patience and ingredients for Thai curries, but the other day I had a green Thai curry with those yummy little Japanese eggplants and matchstick sized bamboo shoots. It was spectacular. I really think eggplant is a wonderfully versatile vegetable. It seems you can substitute it for chicken or veal in many "cutlet type dishes, use it in lieu of pasta in many dishes. It just rocks. Another good one is to slice it thinly lengthwise and use it to wrap a black bean and goat cheese terrine. It is an easy appetizer or nosh. I like to have it with a little tomatillo salsa.

                                      1. Eggplant Casserole
                                        Serves: 6

                                        Delmonico's (New Orleans) famous eggplant casserole.

                                        Ingredients:

                                        • 2 medium eggplants (about 2 lb. total)
                                        • 1¼ teaspoon salt, divided
                                        • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
                                        • 1½ cup. chopped yellow onions
                                        • ½ cup seeded and chopped green bell peppers
                                        • ½ cup chopped celery
                                        • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
                                        • 2 small bay leaves
                                        • 1 ½ cup diced canned tomatoes, with their juice
                                        • ½ pound peeled and deveined small shrimp, minced
                                        • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered chicken base
                                        • ½ cup chopped green onions
                                        • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                                        • ⅓ cup fine dry bread crumbs

                                        Method:
                                        1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
                                        2. Lightly grease a 7- by 11-inch baking dish and set aside.
                                        3. Peel and cut eggplant into large chunks
                                        4. In a large pot, season eggplant with ¼ teaspoon salt, cover with water by 1 inch and bring to a boil over high heat.
                                        5. Reduce heat slightly and cook at a gentle boil until eggplants are tender and very soft, about 30 minutes.
                                        6. Remove from heat and drain well, reserving 3 tablespoons cooking liquid, and reserve.
                                        7. In a black cast iron medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter.
                                        8. Add yellow onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic and bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
                                        9. Stir in reserved 3 tablespoons eggplant cooking liquid and tomatoes and their juices, and allow mixture to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
                                        10. Add shrimp and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to keep from sticking.
                                        11. Add chicken base, reserved eggplant, green onions, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

                                        Note: Chicken base is a powdered chicken stock such as McCormick Real Chicken Base

                                        12. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
                                        13. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish, sprinkle bread crumbs over top and bake until bread crumbs are lightly browned and mixture is bubbly, about 30 minutes.
                                        14. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and serve.

                                        1. I had the dry fried eggplant at Peter Chang's new place in Richmond. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten! This recipe is adapted from his:

                                          http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            Funny - I just had some leftover Chang's Dry-Fried Eggplant yesterday for lunch that I took home from his Charlottesville restaurant the other day. Every time we visit there (fairly frequently), that's a MUST HAVE.

                                            I do take issue with the Washington Post's "adapted" version of the recipe. Too bad they felt the need to dumb it down so very much. Where are the big chunks of whole dried chili peppers? And more importantly - WHERE OR WHERE are the Szechuan Peppercorns, which are so very necessary for this dish? Both items are very easy to come by these days - particularly from on-line sources. Shame.

                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                              Not all Chinese preparations of eggplant use the peppercorns - my mother in law is Taiwanese and she was adamant not to use them... (shrug) everyone's got their own version.

                                              1. re: tzakiel

                                                Oh I totally agree with you (& your mother-in-law) - but Peter Chang's version of this dish that he serves in his restaurants definitely does have them, & I wonder why the Post felt the need to omit them. They're really not expensive or anything, & definitely add that Peter Chang touch. He uses them in quite a few of his authentic Szechuan dishes.

                                          2. I don't have anything to add but I've bookmarked this thread because I always WANT to like eggplant more than I do -- I tend to enjoy it when I have it a pro has prepared it, but my own concoctions have left me 'meh' at best and tossing out the food at worst. You people are great, I may yet be impressed with myself!

                                            1. My absolute favourite way to have it is to slice thinly, grill (or even cook in a pan with a very little bit of oil), then smear with either pesto, sundried tomato tapenade or olive tapenade, and top with a bit of goat's cheese. Absolutely the best way to have it.

                                              Something I also enjoyed (but fair warning: does not look very attractive, although the flavours are great) is Lebanese aubergine moussaka - see http://kitchengrooves.blogspot.com/20...

                                              Eggplant parmesan is also a good option. I think Kenji on SeriousEats had a good method for that one.

                                              And dips/sauces are great - baba ganoush is good, and lutenitsa is fantastic (although it doesn't highlight the eggplant, which is just a component).

                                              I have a tray of baby eggplant in the fridge, so will be keeping an eye on this thread for some new ideas too :)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: haiku.

                                                Thanks for the grilled eggplant with goat cheese & other toppings. Nice idea.

                                              2. My favorite thing, by far, with eggplant is stir-fried eggplant with ground pork and chili peppers... so good! I'll have to post a recipe to my blog soon.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: tzakiel

                                                  Tzakiel - I make a recipe similar to what you describe. Here's my version:

                                                  Bacardi1 Szechuan-Style Braised Eggplant

                                                  1 medium to large globe eggplant, or several small globe or oriental-type eggplants
                                                  2 tablespoons of Chinese salted fermented black beans, soaked in warm water to cover for 20 minutes
                                                  1 tablespoon Chili-Garlic sauce (the Huy Fong “rooster” brand is best)
                                                  1 tablespoon soy sauce
                                                  1 teaspoon sugar
                                                  1 tablespoon fresh ginger (approx. a 2” piece), peeled & minced or grated
                                                  4 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
                                                  1/4-1/2 pound ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey)
                                                  1-2 stalks Bok Chow, sliced
                                                  Peanut or vegetable oil
                                                  Water
                                                  Wok or large skillet with a cover
                                                  White, brown, or Jasmine rice for serving

                                                  Slice eggplant, unpeeled, into approximately 1-1/2” thick slices, then cut the slices into quarters. Make 2 cuts not quite all the way through from the edge to the center on each quarter. This will allow the eggplant pieces to cook quickly & evenly, as well as help them to absorb more of the sauce.

                                                  Drain the soaked fermented black beans & using a fork, mash with the minced garlic to a rough paste. Add the chili paste, sugar, soy sauce, & ¼ cup cold water. Stir.

                                                  Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok or large skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add ground meat & stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Add minced ginger & continue stir frying for another minute. Add eggplant pieces & continue stir frying for another approx. 4-5 minutes. Add in the Bok Choy & sauce mixture, & stir thoroughly until well mixed.

                                                  Add approx. ¼ cup or so of water over all, turn the heat down to low/medium low, cover, & allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until the eggplant pieces are tender to your preference. Serve hot over rice.

                                                  1. re: tzakiel

                                                    That particular dish was on of my favorites in a mongolian BBQ place in West Palm Beach. First time I ever had it and it was fantastic! Very few places here in CT do eggplant very well...mostly chow it to death and cover it up with some sauce.

                                                    1. re: njmarshall55

                                                      I just made eggplant roll-up from an old Yankee book. Recipe called for grated mozzarella cheese, parmesean, egg, cottage cheese with seasoning of salt and pepper and parsley.Oregano or basil was added, and all was made into a paste and placed in the fridge until after making the batter and frying the eggplant. The filling was placed on the base of the eggplant. Then the eggplant was rolled up, placed with seam side down in a 9 x13 baking dish.Covered with a tomato and basil sauce and baked in a 350 oven for 25 minutes.

                                                      1. re: classylady

                                                        Yup - good old "Eggplant Rollatini". If you do a search on it, you'll find lots of good recipes for it. I made it a couple of months ago - & no frying was necessary. I just slice the eggplant thinkly lengthwise, season the slices, then broil them until "just" tender. Then roll them up with their cheesy filling & bake them under a blanket of good marinara sauce. Serve with a little pasta on the side.